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Meaning of wild card

wild' card"

Pronunciation: [key]
  1. a card having its value decided by the wishes of the players.
  2. a determining or important person or thing whose qualities are unknown, indeterminate, or unpredictable: In a sailboat race the weather is the wild card.
  3. a player, usually without ranking, who is allowed to enter a tournament at the discretion of the tournament committee after regularly qualifying competitors have been selected.

wild-card

Pronunciation: (wīld'kärd"), [key]
— adj.
  1. of, constituting, or including a wild card.
  2. of, being, or including an unpredictable or unproven element, person, item, etc.
  3. of, being, or including an unseeded or unproven participant or team, as a team in a championship tournament that has not placed first in its league or area.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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