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One that is in a completely hopeless or useless condition: a man who became a basket case after his divorce; a country that is an economic basket case.
[Originally World War I military slang, soldier who has lost all four limbs.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. a person who is suffering from extreme nervous strain; nervous wreck
2. (Medicine) chiefly taboo US and Canadian a person who has had both arms and both legs amputated
a. someone or something that is incapable of functioning normally
b. (as modifier): a basket-case economy.
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
1. one who is incapable of functioning normally, as due to overwhelming stress or anxiety.
2. Older Use. a person who has had all four limbs amputated.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
basket case- Originally slang denoting a soldier who had lost all four limbs, thus unable to move independently.
See also related terms for limbs.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.