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I was wondering where "wildcard" in computing terms comes from ?

Note: Did not find it in etymonline.com and don't know of any similar resources to consult.

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marked as duplicate by Rory Alsop, Jon Hanna, Bravo, Matt E. Эллен, Kristina Lopez Feb 12 '13 at 14:53

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

A non-computing sense has been asked about here: english.stackexchange.com/questions/93685/… – Hugo Feb 12 '13 at 13:44
and that one is the same meaning. – Rory Alsop Feb 12 '13 at 13:49
Agreed, saw this after my answer, but this is a duplicate. – Jon Hanna Feb 12 '13 at 13:51
And here's the etymonline.com entry (with a space). – Hugo Feb 12 '13 at 14:28
I'm sorry...for not being able to vote up anyone due to reputation as well as..I don't know. I still would not have been satisfied with "wild card" (the space) but my apologies anyway. And thanks for the wonderful insights (see meaning of "wild")! – panny Feb 12 '13 at 16:26
up vote 3 down vote accepted

In some card games, you can have a wild card that the holder can play with any value of their choosing.

Hence, if deuces were wild, you could have three-of-a-kind with a deuce and two kings, by counting the wild 2 as another king.

The computing sense of characters that match any character is by analogy to that.

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thanks but why was it called "wild" and not e.g., joker card or bonus card or strike card or win card or the like? – panny Feb 12 '13 at 13:52
What do you call a person that doesn't behave by the normal rules, or an animal that isn't domesticated and hence follows no rules? Wild – Jon Hanna Feb 12 '13 at 13:54
ah! thanks :) .oO(weird, this sounds a bit like me ;)) kidding ;) – panny Feb 12 '13 at 16:24

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