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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 Эллен, Kristina Lopez Feb 12 '13 at 14:53

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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

1 Answer 1

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
3  
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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