Definition of wild in English:

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Pronunciation: /wīld/


1(Of an animal or plant) living or growing in the natural environment; not domesticated or cultivated.
Example sentences
  • All the sunflowers that were planted last summer were brown, wild shrubs grew abundantly, and weeds consumed the few lilies that were trying desperately to live.
  • Trees are cut down to grow cash crops and wild creatures are shot.
  • Dragons eat any animals they can catch, up to the size of wild pigs, goats, deer, and water buffaloes and occasionally including human beings.
untamed, undomesticated, feral;
fierce, ferocious, savage, untamable
uncultivated, native, indigenous
1.1(Of people) not civilized; barbarous: the wild tribes from the north
More example sentences
  • Egypt, Donnelly wrote, was their colony, where they tried to civilize wild tribes.
  • But while the colonial powers cast the rebels in the light of wild savages destroying the civilising force of the settlers, it was Africans who suffered the brunt of attacks.
  • Some wild tribes of the distant past no doubt did follow the practice of killing innocent people in revenge for the death of one of their men.
primitive, uncivilized, uncultured;
savage, barbarous, barbaric
1.2(Of scenery or a region) desolate-looking: the wild coastline of Cape Wrath
More example sentences
  • I think that instilled a love for landscape, for wild places and open spaces.
  • Clearly his is a cack-handed attempt to cash in on the growing public desire to take wild places into the ownership and control of the communities that live around them.
  • I reckon my love of nature and of wild places started out with Romany.
uninhabited, unpopulated, uncultivated;
rugged, rough, inhospitable, desolate, barren
2Uncontrolled or unrestrained, especially in pursuit of pleasure: she went through a wild phase of drunken parties and desperate affairs
More example sentences
  • Those torture devices they sell to suck in our guts look great under the dress but are not sexy at all when you are trying to yank them off for a wild night of pleasure.
  • The Epicurean happy life, then, far from being a wild pursuit of fun experience, turns out to be a cautious and risk-aversive strategy for maintaining tranquillity.
  • It was filled with a wild fury, an uncontrollable kind, with years passed sitting alone for days with nothing to do, no one to talk to.
uncontrolled, unrestrained, out of control, undisciplined, unruly, rowdy, disorderly, riotous, corybantic
2.1Not based on sound reasoning or probability: a wild guess who, even in their wildest dreams, could have anticipated such a victory?
More example sentences
  • These figures are no more than wild guesses and not derived from research or sound information.
  • But times are fresh and proof is mostly based on wild innuendo and moral snobbery in these dawn days of post-America.
  • At least with Santa Claus, we know there really was a Saint Nicholas on whom all the later wild stories are based.
madcap, ridiculous, ludicrous, foolish, rash, stupid, foolhardy, idiotic, absurd, silly, ill-considered, senseless, nonsensical, harebrained;
impractical, impracticable, unworkable
informal crazy, crackpot, cockeyed, cockamamie, loopy
random, arbitrary, haphazard, hit-or-miss, uninformed
2.2Stormy: the wild sea
More example sentences
  • It can be as serene as a lily pond or as wild as the stormy sea.
  • I remembered, spending days and days in the heat of the sun, building sand castles and thriving in the wild waves of the sea.
  • The sea churned in wild abandon beside the boat which had not stopped its swaying.
stormy, squally, tempestuous, turbulent
2.3 informal Very enthusiastic or excited: I’m not wild about the music
More example sentences
  • He's arrived in Boston to address the wild, enthusiastic, over-the-top Democratic Convention.
  • Liz, on the other hand, has strong cultural and familial restrictions on staring, and tends to look very mildly upon people, when she looks at all, even when she's standing in front of a man she's wild about.
  • Henry wants me to try this Vietnamese place he's wild about. Want to come?
very excited, delirious, in a frenzy;
tumultuous, passionate, vehement, unrestrained
enamored of, (very) enthusiastic about, (very) keen on, infatuated with, smitten with
informal crazy about, blown away by, mad about, nuts about
2.4 informal Very angry.
Example sentences
  • She was wild. She just flipped. It was as if she had voices in her head.
2.5(Of looks, appearance, etc.) indicating distraction: her wild eyes were darting back and forth
More example sentences
  • His struggles were becoming more and more frenzied, a wild look creeping into his blue eyes.
  • Geniuses must have a wild look, their hair must be in disarray, their mind must be in torment on account of their receptivity to divine afflatus, which comes in via the hair.
  • You could see the home fans get a wild look in their eye as naked drummers ran up and down the sidelines riding stick-horses and chanting in the rain.
2.6(Of a playing card) deemed to have any value, suit, color, or other property in a game at the discretion of the player holding it. See also wild card.
Example sentences
  • In some games certain cards are wild - either the deuces or a joker added to the deck - and in some games there is a cumulative jackpot which is won by a high hand such as a royal flush.
  • In this case each hand the wild tiles move around the board from player to player so each player gets 2 wild tiles every 3rd hand.
  • A player uses the wild double in his turn to end the gameround.


(the wild)
1A natural state or uncultivated or uninhabited region: kiwis are virtually extinct in the wild
More example sentences
  • Zoos often keep their animals in cramped, often barren conditions: a far cry from the animal's natural habitat in the wild.
  • Our data suggest that the performance paradigm can be expanded to reveal more of the physiological underpinning of natural selection in the wild.
  • If so, does a fish have a worse time of it in a net than it will have when it is killed by a predator or dies of other natural causes in the wild?
1.1 (the wilds) A remote uninhabited or sparsely inhabited area: he spent a year in the wilds of Canada
More example sentences
  • It must have been a tough decision to be tucked away in the wilds of the remote village after a degree from Oxford but he obviously has a lot of the hardy Scot in him, as his occasional hints keep reminding us.
  • It's well written with lots of excellent photographs and is packed full of knowledge gained from her many years working as a trout-fishing guide in the wilds of the Caithness area of Scotland.
  • Francis came all the way back into the big bad city from the wilds of New Haven, so we were glad to see him.



run wild

(Of an animal, plant, or person) grow or develop without restraint or discipline: these horses have been running wild since they were born figurative her imagination had run wild
More example sentences
  • Presumably he's hoping to let the island monkeys run wild, grow a fanbase around him and then start charging them for his signature too.
  • It's a question of striking the right balance: too little discipline and teenagers might run wild; too much and they might rebel.
  • I mean, that's just someone's imagination running wild.
run amok, run riot, get out of control, be undisciplined
grow unchecked, grow profusely, run riot, ramble

wild and woolly

Uncouth in appearance or behavior.
Example sentences
  • And yet they both deal with the wild and woolly world of human behaviour.
  • Prayer to saints specifically unites us with the Church Triumphant in heaven, and thus is a much-needed reminder that the Church has endured for almost 2,000 wild and woolly and often hideous years.
  • Things will be much less wild and woolly here tomorrow, so I will be back then with a statement of principle.





Old English wilde, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German wild.

  • Both wild and wilderness are Old English words. The first sense of wild was ‘not tame or domesticated’, and wilderness means literally ‘land inhabited only by wild animals’—it comes from Old English wild dēor ‘wild deer’. This is the sense in The Call of the Wild (1903), a novella by the American writer Jack London about a pet sold as a sled dog that returns to the wild to lead a pack of wolves. To the Anglo-Saxons wildfire was originally a raging, destructive fire caused by a lightning strike. It was also a mixture of highly flammable substances used in warfare, and a term for various skin diseases that spread quickly over the body. Use of spread like wildfire was suggested by Shakespeare's line in his poem The Rape of Lucrece: ‘Whose words like wild fire burnt the shining glorie / Of rich-built Illion [Troy]’. A wild goose chase does not come from hunting. Early examples, dating from the late 16th century, refer to a popular sport of the time in which each of a line of riders had to follow accurately the course of the leader, like a flight of wild geese. The wooded uplands know as wolds (Old English), as in Cotswolds, or wealds are probably from the same root. See also deer, voice, west, wool

Words that rhyme with wild

child, Childe, mild, self-styled, undefiled, Wilde

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: wild

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