wildcat

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wild·cat / ˈwīldˌkat/ • n. 1. a small native Eurasian and African cat (Felis silvestris) that is typically gray with black markings and a bushy tail, noted for its ferocity. Its African race is believed to be the ancestor of the domestic cat. ∎  any of the smaller members of the cat family, esp. the bobcat. ∎  a hot-tempered or ferocious person, typically a woman. 2. an exploratory oil well. • adj. (of a strike) sudden and unofficial: legislation to curb wildcat strikes. ∎  commercially unsound or risky. • v. [intr.] prospect for oil.

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wildcat taken as a type of savagery and hot temper, especially in a woman.

From the early 19th century wildcat has been used to designate a person engaging in a risky or unsafe enterprise, or an unsound business undertaking. It was applied specifically to banks in the western US which, before the passing of the National Bank Act of 1863, fraudulently issued notes supported by little or no capital; the use of the name is said to derive from the fact that the notes of a bank in Michigan carried the device of a panther or ‘wild cat’.

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Wildcat ★★ 1942

Crabbe, famous as the serials' Flash Gordon, is a villain in this petrochemical adventure. The hero overextends his credit when he buys an oil well and must produce a gusher or else. 73m/B VHS . Richard Arlen, Arline Judge, Buster Crabbe, William Frawley, Arthur Hunnicutt, Elisha Cook Jr., William Benedict; D: Frank McDonald; W: Maxwell Shane; C: Fred H. Jackman Jr.