wild oat


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Related to wild oat: wild red oat, wild mustard

wild oat

n.
1. often wild oats Any of various oats that are not cultivated and are often weeds in cereal crops, especially Avena fatua.
2. wild oats Misdeeds and indiscretions committed when young.

wild oat

n
(Plants) any of several temperate annual grasses of the genus Avena, esp A. fatua, that grow as weeds and have long bristles on their flower spikes

wild′ oat′


n.
any uncultivated species of Avena, esp. a common weedy grass, A. fatua, resembling the cultivated oat.
Idioms:
sow one's wild oats, to have a youthful fling at reckless and indiscreet behavior.
[1490–1500]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.wild oat - common in meadows and pastureswild oat - common in meadows and pastures  
oat - annual grass of Europe and North Africa; grains used as food and fodder (referred to primarily in the plural: `oats')
References in classic literature ?
"I was about to speak further, when I observed the wild oats near the place of the disturbance moving in the most inexplicable way.
There was yet a fertile strip of time wherein to sow my last handful of the wild oats of youth.
Her son, Mr Henry Gowan, inheriting from his father, the Commissioner, that very questionable help in life, a very small independence, had been difficult to settle; the rather, as public appointments chanced to be scarce, and his genius, during his earlier manhood, was of that exclusively agricultural character which applies itself to the cultivation of wild oats. At last he had declared that he would become a Painter; partly because he had always had an idle knack that way, and partly to grieve the souls of the Barnacles-in-chief who had not provided for him.
'Mr Swiveller,' said Quilp, 'being pretty well accustomed to the agricultural pursuits of sowing wild oats, Miss Sally, prudently considers that half a loaf is better than no bread.
`MacKeller found him sowing wild oats in London, I believe.
He wants gravity and steadiness; he must sow his wild oats, and then perhaps he'll become in time a respectable member of society.'
Raveloe was not a place where moral censure was severe, but it was thought a weakness in the Squire that he had kept all his sons at home in idleness; and though some licence was to be allowed to young men whose fathers could afford it, people shook their heads at the courses of the second son, Dunstan, commonly called Dunsey Cass, whose taste for swopping and betting might turn out to be a sowing of something worse than wild oats. To be sure, the neighbours said, it was no matter what became of Dunsey--a spiteful jeering fellow, who seemed to enjoy his drink the more when other people went dry--always provided that his doings did not bring trouble on a family like Squire Cass's, with a monument in the church, and tankards older than King George.
In the rotation of crops there was a recognised season for wild oats; but they were not to be sown more than once.
"He will sow his wild oats," she would say, "and is worth far more than that puling hypocrite of a brother of his."
Then, too, my mother said I had sown my wild oats and it was time I settled down to a regular job.
For the nonce, however, he proposed to sail about, and sow his wild oats in all four oceans.
He is particularly grieved at me, because, forsooth he had fallen in love with you from his sister's reports, and meant to have married you himself, as soon as he had sown his wild oats.'