The English We Speak – A wild card

A wild card can describe someone who is unpredictable or they behave in an unexpected way.

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The English We Speak from BBC Learning English
Rob: Hello and welcome to The English We Speak. I’m Rob and joining me today is Feifei.
Feifei: Hello everyone. Hey, what about that new guy who’s started in the office?
Rob: Brian?
Feifei: Yes, he’s very funny – always telling jokes – and yesterday he started juggling with three oranges – he was very good.
Rob: Hmm, he might be funny but I haven’t seen him do much work – I think he’s a bit of a wild card.
Feifei: A wild card? You mean he’s like a playing card – a heart, a spade or maybe a diamond?
Rob: No, no, although the expression does come from playing cards – here, it means he is unpredictable _: he’s someone we don’t know much about so we’re not sure how he’s going to behave in the future.
Feifei: Oh do you think so? Well yes Rob, Brian is unpredictable!
Rob: Let’s hear some more examples of this phrase… Examples
We’re taking a gamble, she’s a wild card, but let’s hope she delivers what she promises.
Jack is too much of a wild card to get a place on our team.
The wild card in this competition is Chelsea: nobody really knows which way the score will go.
Rob: Right, have you got that? A wild card can describe someone who is unpredictable or they behave in an unexpected way. But although Brian is a wild card, I wish he’d settle down and do some work instead of joking around all the time.
Feifei: Oh do you wish you were a bit like him?
Rob: Not at all – anyway what kind of card would you call me?
Feifei: You’re my favourite card – you’re an ace!
Rob: Ace! Gosh thanks Feifei, you’re such a card! Feifei: See you next time.
Both: Bye!


BBC The English We Speak

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