hand·​bas·​ket ˈhan(d)-ˌba-skət How to pronounce handbasket (audio)
: a small portable basket
usually used in the phrase to hell in a handbasket denoting rapid and utter ruination

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web If the purpose of this essay were to merely shout at the heavens, proclaiming that the world is going to hell in a handbasket because of rampant biblical illiteracy on Earth, many may be tempted to dismiss my concerns — flippantly enough. Luther Ray Abel, National Review, 17 Sep. 2020 At least as much as an unemployed football coach and his hell-in-a-handbasket Mayberry RFD nostalgia. al, 10 Dec. 2019 On the 1st hole, a gone-to-hell-in-a-handbasket iron plops down in the second cut. Jack Mccallum, SI.com, 27 June 2018 Theft, West Bagley Road: Police hope to identify and arrest a man who stole a handbasket filled with merchandise at about 3:45 p.m. July 24 from Dollar General, 390 West Bagley Road. Bob Sandrick, cleveland.com, 27 July 2017

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of handbasket was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near handbasket

Cite this Entry

“Handbasket.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handbasket. Accessed 21 Mar. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on handbasket

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

A Good Old-Fashioned Quiz

Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?