basket case


Definition of basket case 

1 : a person who has all four limbs amputated

2 : a person who is mentally incapacitated or worn out (as from nervous tension) also : one that is not functioning well or is in a run-down condition an economic basket case

Examples of basket case in a Sentence

I was so worried about losing my job that I was a complete basket case. a business that was once very successful but is now a financial basket case

Recent Examples on the Web

Leaders in Eastern Europe, led by Poland, have ripped up institutional controls, while Russia has recovered from being an economic basket case to become a beacon for autocrats everywhere. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Investor Lessons From Turkey’s Crash to Earth," 14 Aug. 2018 My grandfather bought it as a basket case before passing away unexpectedly. Casey Williams,, "Driving the Ford Model T through 110 years of American audacity," 3 July 2018 Dan Loeb’s $3 billion bet on Nestlé NSRGY 1.94% is running into a problem: Activist investing works best on basket cases. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Nestlé Will Test Dan Loeb’s Appetite for Long-Term Investing," 2 July 2018 This brain-dead basket case suggested kidnapping and assaulting Donald Trump's child. Fox News, "Gutfeld: Trump is succeeding and it's the media's nightmare," 24 June 2018 Venezuela, once among the hemisphere’s richest countries and boasting the world’s largest crude reserves, has turned into the regional basket case. Jim Wyss And Cody Weddle, miamiherald, "Venezuela's Maduro aims to turn empty stomachs into full ballot boxes | Miami Herald," 16 May 2018 Italy is the third-largest economy in the eurozone, well integrated into the broader continental economy, and far less of an economic basket case than Greece, so Italians have more to lose in the event of such an upheaval. Jonah Shepp, Daily Intelligencer, "Italy’s Political Crisis Is Rattling Europe. Here’s What You Need to Know.," 30 May 2018 And there are plenty of replacements for a word like basket case, another good one to consider avoiding. Katy Steinmetz, Time, "Avoiding Phrases With Unseemly Origins Is More Complicated Than You Might Think," 26 Apr. 2018 The next 12 months will decide whether Sunderland are indeed the basket case to which they have been portrayed, or made of similar ilk to the Rokermen who inspired years of relative success 31 years ago., "FanView: What Sunderland Must Address to Emulate the Rokermen of 1988 Following Relegation," 23 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'basket case.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of basket case

1919, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for basket case

The first known use of basket case was in 1919

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More Definitions for basket case

basket case


English Language Learners Definition of basket case

: a person who is very nervous, tired, etc., and is not able to think or act normally

: something (such as a company or a government) that is in very bad condition and close to failure

Comments on basket case

What made you want to look up basket case? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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