How Did the Word “Wildcat” For a Risky Venture Originate and What Does the Term Mean?

Whether it’s a strike or an oil well, the word wildcat describes anything that is considered risky and has a good chance of failing.

It comes from a time before regulations when state banks like the Bank of Michigan issued their own money.

That bank’s notes had a panther on the face and were called “wildcats.”

When the bank went down, so did a lot of fortunes.

From then on, all high-risk ventures were described as wildcats.