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This week's theme: words from games and sports.
wild card (wyld kard) noun
1. In a game of cards, a card having no fixed value.
2. In a game, such as tennis, a player allowed to enter the tournament without having to fulfill qualifying requirements.
3. In computing, a character (usually *) used to represent any character.
4. An unknown or unpredictable factor.
[From card games, where such a card has no pre-determined value and is assigned a value by the player holding it.]
-Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)
"A Western diplomat in New Delhi called the thousands of Pakistani-trained militants operating in Indian Kashmir 'a major wild card that is outside the control of either nation.'" Rajiv Chandrasekaran; Kashmiri Rebels Warn of New Strikes; The Washington Post; Jan 3, 2002.
When I reflect upon the number of disagreeable people who I know have gone to a better world, I am moved to lead a different life. -Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)