Definition of basket case in English:

basket case

noun

informal
  • 1A person or thing regarded as useless or unable to cope:

    ‘do that for a couple of days and you become a blithering basket case’
    • ‘So what if it turns you into a complete basket case - at least it's always exciting, right?’
    • ‘Yeah, I'm all cool and collected and efficient when I'm helping a friend pack, but when it's me I'm a basket case.’
    • ‘He was a basket case who freaked out under pressure.’
    • ‘He is a total basket case, almost suicidal and drinking heavily.’
    • ‘Describe her as a basket case, and she nods her acquiescence.’
    • ‘Their mother is an immobile, detached basket case.’
    • ‘I am a basket case who doesn't know what to believe about myself, or her anymore.’
    • ‘Now, couple that with an extreme training regime and a virus and you end up like me - a basket case.’
    • ‘We're all emotional basket cases, and all we can do is find some crumb of comfort in sharing each other's pain.’
    • ‘So, what have we learned, except that I'm more or less a completely conflicted emotional basket case?’
    • ‘I don't want my husband's friends talking about how his wife is a basket case.’
    • ‘Ask me to read in front of people now, and I become a basket case.’
    • ‘I've never seen her as any kind of basket case or to be pitied.’
    • ‘I am working very hard not to be a basket case, but doing an extremely poor job.’
    • ‘"Don't wait until you're a basket case to seek help," Webster says.’
    • ‘Friday arrived, and Jasmine was a basket case.’
    • ‘Just before my injection, I became an emotional basket case and made a fool of myself.’
    • ‘He shut me down and gave the camera a 10 second look as if to say ‘What a basket case!’’
    • ‘I am not suicidal, but I am having a hard time coping - I am such a sad basket case that it makes the rest of my social relationships difficult to handle.’
    • ‘My sister is a complete basket case, has been since she was 12.’
    1. 1.1 A country or organization that is in severe financial or economic difficulties, especially one that is unable to pay its debts:
      ‘sudden meltdowns—such as the financial crisis—can turn flourishing countries into basket cases overnight’
      • ‘The nation that was once known as the breadbasket of Africa quickly became, according to economists, a basket case.’
      • ‘The banks are effectively basket cases.’
      • ‘The economic indicators show this mineral rich country is a basket case.’
      • ‘An estimated £3 billion of construction work will take place in the next 10 years in a bid to rid the city of its reputation as Britain's biggest urban basket case.’
      • ‘The country is a basket case and needs to be left to its own devices.’
      • ‘The car maker has been a basket case for years, but there are still valuable lessons to learn from its demise’
      • ‘The biggest winners of next year will probably be corporate basket cases recovering from past woes.’
      • ‘One of the country's top economists has rejected the popular view that the economy is a basket case and is headed for trouble.’
      • ‘By any normal measure, both would be considered economic basket cases.’
      • ‘His biggest acquisition was a basket case when he took it over in 2001.’
      • ‘It's not the financial basket case it's been painted as, but it does need to be modernised to meet future challenges.’
      • ‘The country has no oil, virtually no natural resources of any kind, and is surrounded by bullies and basket cases.’
      • ‘He says the excise decision has turned a business that was turning over $10 million a year into a potential corporate basket case.’
      • ‘The region is an economic basket case.’
      • ‘How, exactly, does a country in such a prosperous position end up a basket case?’
      • ‘Seven years ago, the airline had been a flying basket case, a perennial money loser facing a third go-round in bankruptcy court.’
      • ‘English Heritage said the listed sites were "basket cases" and 65 million was urgently needed to save them.’
      • ‘Yesterday's miracle economies have become today's basket cases, nations whose assets have evaporated but whose debts remain all too real.’
      • ‘It is not hyperbole to say that the derivatives industry is looking increasingly like a basket case, or at the minimum a potential accident.’
      • ‘The company is struggling against its competition but it is no basket case.’

Origin

First World War: originally US slang denoting a soldier who had lost all four limbs, thus unable to move independently.

Pronunciation

basket case