What is the meaning of card in this sentence:

I'm a wild card.

Can you show other examples which describe the people as a card?

  • 1
    Other playing card examples include an ace up one's sleeve (a hidden asset), one's strong suit (their expertise), and to show one's hand (to reveal something hidden). English is full of card game idioms.
    – Kys
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 19:28
  • More generally, an ace is an expert in one's field.
    – Kys
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 19:34
  • Also I think people can occasionally be called trump cards.
    – LawrenceC
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 19:49
  • Also, card all on its own, such as "You're such a card!" Means the person thinks you are funny. Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 21:03

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, you needed to search wild card, not just card, to understand the meaning.

In addition to the answer provided, here are a few more "simple" definitions from Merriam-Webster:

wild card
: a person or thing that could affect a situation in a way that cannot be predicted
: an unknown or unpredictable factor
sports : a player or team chosen to fill a place in a competition after the regularly qualified players or teams have all been decided

So I'm a wild card could also mean that this person is unpredictable.

Again, depending on the context, some possibly related words are adventurous, spontaneous, and unstable, just to name a few.

It's also possible that the person is filling a wild card position, as some players or teams do in sports.

  • Now that you've been dealt into this discussion and the chips are down on the table, it's your time to call Glorfindel's bluff and play your hand, complete with your trump card. To call a spade a spade, you hold all the aces in this one. +1
    – Kys
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 14:56

In some card games, a wild card is a card that can be anything you like. Similarly, a wildcard can be used to represent any other character.

That's the origin of the expression; when used for persons it probably means someone who can do everything you like, or someone who can be used for many tasks. We need more context to determine exactly what's meant.

  • 5
    Describing someone as a "wild card" can also mean they're unpredictable. But as you say, we really would need more context.
    – Andrew
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 19:32
  • Note that "wild card" and "wildcard" are the same thing and both correct - "wildcard" as one word is likely newer. There is a common occurrence in English that multiple words get combined. Sometimes there is a hyphen, sometimes a space, sometimes neither. For example, there once was e-mail, now just email or Email.
    – MikeP
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 1:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .