What Is A Wildcard Character?

What is a Wildcard Character?

What is a Wildcard Character? – Definitions

What is a Wildcard Character?


Welcome to the “DEFINITIONS” category of our page! In this post, we will explore the concept of a wildcard character and its importance in various fields. If you’ve ever wondered what a wildcard character is and how it can be used, you’ve come to the right place.

Understanding Wildcard Characters

Wildcard characters are special symbols, most commonly asterisks (*) and question marks (?), that are used as placeholders in searches or computer programming languages. They have the power to represent any character or a group of characters within a certain context. By using wildcard characters, you can broaden your search criteria or replace unknown characters in a specific pattern.

Key Takeaways:

  • Wildcard characters are symbols used as placeholders in searches or programming languages.
  • They can represent any character or a group of characters.

Wildcard Characters in Action

Let’s dive into some examples to understand how wildcard characters work in different scenarios:

1. Search Queries:

When using a search engine, wildcard characters can be particularly useful when you want to find results that include variations or unknown parts of a phrase. Here’s how you can utilize wildcard characters in search queries:

  • Use an asterisk (*) as a wildcard for multiple characters to replace any word or phrase. For example, searching for “universe *” will display results for phrases like “universe exploration,” “universe mysteries,” or “universe theory.”
  • Use a question mark (?) as a wildcard for a single character within a word. Searching for “c?t” will display results for words like “cat,” “cot,” or “cut.”

2. Programming Languages:

Wildcard characters play a significant role in programming languages, allowing developers to create flexible patterns for matching or manipulating strings. Consider the following examples:

  • In regular expressions, an asterisk (*) represents zero or more occurrences of the preceding character or group of characters. For instance, the pattern “a*” will match words like “a,” “aa,” “aaa,” and so on.
  • The question mark (?) represents a single occurrence of any character in regular expressions. So, the pattern “c?t” will match strings such as “cat,” “cot,” and “cut.”


Wildcard characters are versatile and powerful tools that can enhance your search queries and programming logic. Whether you’re searching the web or writing code, knowing how to utilize wildcard characters can save you time and provide more accurate results. So embrace the asterisks and question marks, and let these wildcard characters unlock new possibilities!