I. noun (plural wildcats) Date: 14th century 1. a. an Old World cat (Felis silvestris) that resembles but is heavier in build than the domestic tabby cat and is usually held to be among the ancestors of the domestic cat b. or plural wildcat any of various small or medium-sized cats (as the lynx or ocelot) c. a feral domestic cat 2. a savage quick-tempered person 3. a. wildcat money b. a wildcat oil or gas well c. a wildcat strike II. adjective Date: 1838 1. a. (1) issued by a financially irresponsible banking establishment <
wildcat currency
(2) financially irresponsible or unreliable <
wildcat banks
b. operating, produced, or carried on outside the bounds of standard or legitimate business practices <
wildcat insurance schemes — H. H. Reichard
c. of, relating to, or being an oil or gas well drilled in territory not known to be productive d. initiated by a group of workers without formal union approval or in violation of a contract <
a wildcat strike
wildcat work stoppages
2. a. of a cartridge having a bullet of standard caliber but using an expanded case or a case designed for a bullet of greater caliber necked down for the smaller bullet b. of a firearm using wildcat cartridges III. intransitive verb (wildcatted; wildcatting) Date: circa 1903 to prospect and drill an experimental oil or gas well or sink a mine shaft in territory not known to be productive

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

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