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

Two decades ago Venezuela arguably had South America’s most prosperous and educated people as well as the world’s largest oil reserves, but 20 years of mismanagement turned the country into a fiscal basket case. WSJ, "Nutmeg ‘Moderates’ Can Be Pretty Far Left," 12 Oct. 2018 Illinois is a fiscal basket case, so no new resources are forthcoming. Gary Macdougal, WSJ, "Chicago’s Violence and Its Leadership Deficit," 8 Aug. 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of basket case

1919, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about basket case

Statistics for basket case

Last Updated

26 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for basket case

The first known use of basket case was in 1919

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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).


something valued as if it were money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!