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Please go through the below excerpt from "The tales of Kasi" by "Madhira Subbanna Deekshitulu"

'Kasyam maranam mukti', goes the sanskrit saying, which means dying in Kasi leads to liberation. Hindus believe that if they die here, there is an automatic upgrade to heaven, no matter what the sin committed on earth. It is amazing how god provides this wild-card entry at death.

I perceived the applicable meaning of wild-card for this context is a rarest luck or facility which comes with no cost.

But what is the origin for this meaning?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Well, a "wild card" is from card games where it's a card that can be counted as any other card. You would say, starting a game of poker, "Jacks are wild". During the game you could use a Jack as a 10 if it would help your hand.

And in software, a wild card is used in something called Regular Expressions. A regular expression is a series of letters and symbols that can "match" many words. In regular expressions, the '*' is the wildcard, typically. So, the regular expression 'd*g' matches dog, dig, dag, dxg . . . and so forth.

So, I guess, in this passage, there is no special requirement on who can get into heaven. Who can get into heaven? If there was a regular expression to match who can get into heaven, it would be the "wild card" - '*' get's into heaven. Everyone, everything even.

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That regex is wrong, you know. /d*g/ does not (completely) match any of those. You mean /d.*g/. –  tchrist Dec 8 '12 at 15:57
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A * does not match anything in a regex. It determines how many times something else matches. The . character is a regex wildcard if you like. The * is a wildcard in filename globbing. –  MετάEd Dec 8 '12 at 20:46
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Yeah, I was trying to dumb down the regex stuff; i believe the spirit is correct, no? –  chad Dec 9 '12 at 0:27

Without seeing the original context that the passage derives from, it is impossible to say for sure, but I strongly suspect that this use of wild-card entry alludes to the term’s use in sporting competitions:

A wild card is, in general, a tournament or playoff berth awarded to an individual or team that has not qualified through normal play.

So a wild-card entry is a place awarded to an individual or team who would not normally qualify. In this instance, that means the individual did not deserve to get into heaven, but got there via a wild card.

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I've no idea why two people have downvoted this one. I'm pretty sure the allusion is more to "wild card" entries in sporting competitions, rather than @chad's software-based "regex pattern-matching". Obviously the two usages are somewhat related, but possibly not so closely as it might appear. –  FumbleFingers Dec 8 '12 at 18:15
    
...I get the impression from C19 "a wild card" that it started off meaning "something/someone unpredictable", rather than "matching a variety of patterns". –  FumbleFingers Dec 8 '12 at 18:18
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Both the regex and sporting usages are themselves metaphorical usages of the card-game usage. A valid answer should mention the original usage, even if it also mentions sources that may be more proximate. (I wasn't one of the downvoters, though. I'm still too new here to be comfortable downvoting anything but egregious cases.) –  gmcgath Dec 24 '12 at 14:45

The meaning of wild-card came from the game card. In card game we have to make some specific sets of cards. How ever generally wild-card goes with any card. It means even if you have one specific card less to form a set, you can use the wild-card(The other card which is similar to wild-card) instead of that specific card. Before starting of the game, you distributes cards and choose randomly one among the remaining as wild-card. Then that card can be used to fill the sets.

Here Kasi acts as a wild card. Even if the person is not eligible to go for heaven, if he dies in Kasi it will carries him to heaven.

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