Green’s Dictionary of Slang

wild adj.

1. (US) exciting, wonderful.

[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 114: ‘Gee, I had a wild old time in Zenith!’ he gloried.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 12: [I] rolls it over in my conk that this is a wild banter that’s trying to flop but can’t fly.
[US]Kerouac letter 25 Mar. in Charters II (1999) 20: They are all hi, all wild, hep, cool, great kids.
[US]‘Lord Buckley’ Hiparama of the Classics 10: The kind of a Cat that came on so cool and so wild and so groovy and so with it.
[US]T. Southern Blue Movie (1974) 151: The time in the ‘Marie A.’ rig, that was wild.
[US]R. Price Blood Brothers 143: ‘How’s it goin’?’ ‘It’s wild. I did two days’ geriatrics, then they switched me to kids.’.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 57: Then got out this sandhill made like Clacton and Southend piled on top each other endways. It was wild.
[US]‘Grandmaster Flash’ Adventures 42: ‘The graffiti scene's blowing up. The b-boy shit's wild. I wanna be on the inside, but I'm not’.

2. (US) enthusiastic, excited.

[US]J. McConnell letter 27 Sept. in Weeks (ed.) Greater Love Hath No Man (1939) 71: Last night we heard that 42,000 Bosches had been put hors de combat; that they were in full retreat and that our cavalry was right on their heels. Great, isn’t it? [...] The town was wild.
[US]Goodwin’s Wkly (Salt lake City, UT) 2 June 12/3: I’m wild to leave this dinky little town behind and sail away in a big ship to Europe.
[US]S. Walker Night Club Era 58: [M]ost of whom [i.e. political delegates] were politically dry but wild for the bottle.
[US]J.S. Pennell Hist. of Rome Hanks 157: I’m perfectly wild about lousy movies.

3. eccentric, bizarre, weird, odd; unrestrained; also as adv.

[US]J. Mitchell McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon (2001) 87: I do enjoy his digressions. They can be really wild.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 171: I rinsed the tall glass out and poured a libation and sat down with it to read. And what I read was really wild.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 165: Sammee, pal, it’s been a wild night.
[US]C. McFadden Serial 100: Anyway, we had a wild scene going ourselves.
[US]C. White Life and Times of Little Richard 56: He was talking wild, thinking up stuff just to be different.
[US]Source Nov. 142: That shit sounded wild to her.
[US]B. Coleman Check the Technique 458: Shit was wild, dudes got sliced up, females got into fights.

4. (US Und.) consecutive, referring to prison sentences; also as adv.

[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 312: And the Bronx was handing out wild bits of time, like seventeen and a half to thirty-five years.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Whoreson 290: They could run the time wild. What I mean by that is, after you finished doing ten years for the state the Feds would be waiting for you; they would [...] transport you right back to another [prison] to start the second sentence.
[US]A. Vachss Hard Candy (1990) 11: Sally Lou was looking at a bunch of life sentences, running wild.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 85: The lady judge [...] whipped deuces wild on her, consecutive two-year sentences.
[US]J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 45: And they got your shit running wild, O.G. That’s outta line.

5. (US/W.I.) philandering.

R. Charles Brother Ray 93: During the time Louise and I were together, I might have strayed two or three times. But for the most part, I wasn’t wild.
[WI]Francis-Jackson Official Dancehall Dict. 55: Wild 1. philandering.

In compounds

wild-ass (adj.) (also wild-assed) [sense 3 + -ass sfx]

(US) crazy, insane, unbalanced.

[US]Goodwin’s Wkly (Salt Lake City, UT) 3 Mar. 7/2: Wild-ass performances by pacifists who say that the lress is subsidized for [...] War by British gold.
[US](con. 1920s–30s) J.O. Killens Youngblood (1956) 107: Keep your eyes on that wild-ass white gal.
[US]D. Pendleton Executioner (1973) 179: Maybe Chopper’s wild-ass charge was what sent all these bunnies hopping along the trail.
[US]S. Ace Stand On It (1979) 228: It’s a goddam wild-assed sensation to drive a car at speed.
[US]P. Conroy Great Santini (1977) 236: They think they’re in the clutches of a wildass killer.
[US](con. 1967) E. Spencer Welcome to Vietnam (1989) 265: He lets go when he sees my face – I can get a wild-ass look sometimes.
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Jungletown Jihad’ in Destination: Morgue! (2004) 372: We’ve got wild-ass A-rabs up the wazoo.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

wild-buck (adj.)

uncontrolled, unrestrained.

[US]Kerouac On the Road (The Orig. Scroll) (2007) 209: George Washington was a wildbuck Indian fighter. [Ibid.] 261: Every now and then you’d go mad and ride with the wildbuck gang.
[US]Kerouac On The Road (1972) 88: Her brother was a wild-buck Mexican hotcat.
wild card (n.) [poker imagery]

(US) something or someone unknown or unpredictable.

[[US]N.Y. Times 22 May 11/4: Dick [Foote] was a wild card. Too mad a bohemian to fit in with Eastern tastes, yet a fine actor and a ripe Shakespearean scholar].
Radio Times (London) 153 30/3: The main point is that a ‘wild card’ can become anything — like Walter Mitty in his dreams.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 11 Oct. in Proud Highway (1997) 645: Tell Hinckle he’d better take some liver exercises ... and also to get braced for my wild card.
[US]J. Wambaugh Golden Orange (1991) 267: The guy was a wild card.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 28 Aug. 5: A wild card, and the most likeable of the shortlist.
[US]P. Cornwell Last Precinct 9: She’s a wild card, Doc.

see separate entries.

wildfire (n.) [its taste and effects]

a fiery drink.

[UK]J. Sheppard Sheppard in Egypt 17: He grew out of Patience, and order’d a dozen Balls of Wild-fire to be ramm’d down my Throat to clear my Utterance.
[UK]W. Toldervy Hist. of the Two Orphans III 112: Taking a dirty paper out of her bosom, in which was written the following words: Tape, glim, rushlight, white port, rasher of bacon, gunpowder, slug, wild-fire, knock-me-down, and strip-me-naked.
wild hair (n.)

(US) a theory, poss. extravagant; thus wild-haired adj.

[US]G. Milburn No More Trumpets 45: A few of them might have some wild-haired ideas.
[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Men from the Boys (1967) 75: I’m not saying this is the blueprint, and I know it’s a wild hair, but I think it’s worth looking into.
[US]J. Olsen Secret of Fire Five 43: Plummer got a wild hair that he was some kind of gourmet chef, and damn near poisoned us.
[US]W. Wharton Midnight Clear 138: We can’t risk the squad on a wild-haired guess like this.
wild oats (n.) [SE sow one’s wild oats]

a dissolute young man, a rake.

[UK]Becon Nosegay in Works (1843) 204: The tailors now-a-days are compelled to excogitate, invent, and imagine diversities of fashions for apparel, that they may satisfy the foolish desire of certain light rains and wild oats, which are altogether given to new fangleness [N].
[UK]H. Porter Two Angry Women of Abington F: phil.: No sweete pinckanie. mal.: O, ist you wilde oates? phil.: I forsooth wanton.
How a Man may chuse a Good Wife n.p.: Well, go to, wild oats! spendthrift! prodigal! [N].
[UK]W. Haughton English-Men For My Money C4: You mad-man, mad-cap, wild-oates; we are for you.
[UK]J. Taylor ‘An Armado’ in Works (1869) I 78: Their Drinke was brewed with a malt, made only with Wild-oats, but instead of Hops, there was store of Rue, with a little Hearts-ease.
wild rogue (n.) [ext. of rogue n. (1)]

(UK Und.) a dedicated professional villain.

[UK]Awdeley Fraternitye of Vacabondes in Viles & Furnivall (1907) 5: A wilde Roge is he that hath no abiding place but by his coulour of going abrode to beg, is commonly to seeke some kinsman of his, and all that be of hys corporation be properly called Roges.
[UK]Harman Caveat for Common Cursetours in Viles & Furnivall (1907) 41: A Wilde Roge is he that is borne a Roge: he is a more subtil and more geuen by nature to all kinde of knauery then the other, as beastely begotten in barne or bushes, and from his infancye traded vp in trechery; yea, and before ripenes of yeares doth permyt, wallowinge in lewde lechery, but that is counted amongest them no sin.
[UK]Groundworke of Conny-catching [as cit. c.1566].
[UK]Dekker The Belman of London D: These Wilde Rogues (like wild geese) keepe in flocks and all the day loyter in the fields, if the weather be warme, and at the Brick-hills, or else disperse themselues, in colde weather, to rich mens doores.
[UK]Middleton & Dekker Roaring Girle V i: Tearcat what are you ? a wild rogue, an angler, or a ruffler?
[UK]W. Winstanley New Help To Discourse 130: Wilde Rogues, are such as are begotten of Rogues, and marked for villains in their swadling Clouts, which all their lives after they put in practice.
[Ire]Head Canting Academy (2nd edn) 46: Wild Rogues were formerly such who were begotten by very Rogues, such who had been burnt in the hand or shoulder, or bee whipt at the Carts arse.
[UK]R. Holme Academy of Armory Ch. iii item 68b: Give me leave to give you the names (as in their Canting Language they call themselves) of all (or most of such) as follow the Vagabond Trade, according to their Regiments or Divisions, as [...] Wild Rogues, Mad Men, Bedlams, called also Mad Toms.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Wild Rogues c. the fifth Order of Canters, such as are train’d up from Children to Nim Buttons off Coats, to creep in at Cellar and Shop-Windows, and to slip in at Doors behind People, also that have been whipt, Burnt in the Fist and often in Prison for Roguery.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy IV 200: Now they have gotten a thin pair of Brogues, / And into the Woods among the wild Rogues.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Wild rogues, Rogues trained up to stealing from their cradles.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
wild thing, the (n.)

see separate entry.

wild Willy (n.)

(US campus) a dedicated hedonist.

[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 23: wild Willy n. A dissipated fellow.

In phrases