1640s, "gourd-like fruit, of a deep orange-yellow color when ripe, of a coarse decumbent vine native to North America," an alteration of pompone, pumpion "melon, pumpkin" (1540s), from French pompon, from Latin peponem (nominative pepo) "melon," from Greek pepon "melon." The Greek word is probably originally "ripe," on the notion of "cooked (by the sun)," from peptein "to cook" (from PIE root *pekw- "to cook, ripen"). With ending conformed to words in -kin.
Figuratively, in 19c. (and later) U.S. vernacular, it has meant both "stupid, self-important person" and "person or matter of importance" (as in some pumpkins).
Pumpkin-pie is recorded from 1650s. Pumpkin-head, American English colloquial for "person with hair cut short all around" is recorded by 1781. Vulgar American English alternative spelling punkin attested by 1806.
America's a dandy place:
The people are all brothers:
And when one's got a punkin pye,
He shares it with the others.
[from "A Song for the Fourth of July, 1806," in The Port Folio, Philadelphia, Aug. 30, 1806]
"to run wild, refuse to be tamed," Old English awildian (see wild (adj.)). Wilding (n.) in the teen gang sense first recorded 1989. Earlier it meant "plant that grows without cultivation" (1520s).
"uncultivated or desolate region," 1590s, in the wilds. From wild (adj.). Earlier it meant "wild animal" (c. 1200).
Old English wilde "in the natural state, uncultivated, untamed, undomesticated, uncontrolled," from Proto-Germanic *wildia- (source also of Old Saxon wildi, Old Norse villr, Old Frisian wilde, Dutch wild, Old High German wildi, German wild, Gothic wilþeis "wild," German Wild (n.) "game"), of uncertain origin, perhaps from PIE root *welt- "woodlands; wild" (see wold).
Ursula ... hath bin at all the Salsbury rasis, dancing like wild with Mr Clarks. [letter, 1674]
Meaning "sexually dissolute, loose" is attested from mid-13c. Meaning "distracted with excitement or emotion, crazy" is from 1590s. U.S. slang sense of "exciting, excellent" is recorded from 1955. As an adverb from 1540s. Baseball wild pitch is recorded from 1867. Wildest dreams attested from 1717. Wild West in a U.S. context recorded by 1826. Wild Turkey brand of whiskey (Austin Nichols Co.) in use from 1942.
"pursuit of anything in ignorance of the direction it will take," hence "a foolish enterprise," 1592, first attested in "Romeo and Juliet," where it evidently is a figurative use of an earlier (but unrecorded) literal sense in reference to a kind of follow-the-leader steeplechase, perhaps from one of the "crazy, silly" senses in goose (n.). Wild goose (as opposed to a domesticated one) is attested in late Old English (wilde gos).
"wild, in a state of nature," 1630s, from Latin ferinus "pertaining to wild animals," from fera "a wild beast, wild animal" (from PIE root *ghwer- "wild beast").
c. 1600, "wild, undomesticated," from French feral "wild," from Latin fera, in phrase fera bestia "wild animal," from ferus "wild" (from PIE root *ghwer- "wild beast"). Since 19c. commonly "run wild, having escaped from domestication."