The "wildcard" import is effectively the same as coding an explicit import for every package at that level of that path of the class tree. It's an easy way to get everything you need without having to keep going back and coding another import, but there are 2 consequences. 1) You cause a lot of unused definitions to get dumped into the mix, which takes extra time and other overhead. 2) You open up more possibilities for naming ambiguities (suppose Sun suddenly released a java with class java.awt.String!) In some cases, such as java.awt and javax.swing, you'll end up with the full load eventually, so it doesn't much matter. For others - such as java.util, I usually like to be more selective.
"privilege" comes from the Latin words for "private" and "law" (legal) and dates to feudal times. To "claim privilege" meant that you were above the laws that applied to the common people.
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