Definition of basket case in US English:

basket case

noun

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

    • ‘Now, couple that with an extreme training regime and a virus and you end up like me - a basket case.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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!’’
    • ‘Friday arrived, and Jasmine was a basket case.’
    • ‘I've never seen her as any kind of basket case or to be pitied.’
    • ‘Describe her as a basket case, and she nods her acquiescence.’
    • ‘"Don't wait until you're a basket case to seek help," Webster says.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So what if it turns you into a complete basket case - at least it's always exciting, right?’
    • ‘My sister is a complete basket case, has been since she was 12.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He is a total basket case, almost suicidal and drinking heavily.’
    • ‘I don't want my husband's friends talking about how his wife is 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.’
    • ‘Ask me to read in front of people now, and I become a basket case.’
    • ‘He was a basket case who freaked out under pressure.’
    • ‘I am working very hard not to be a basket case, but doing an extremely poor job.’
    • ‘So, what have we learned, except that I'm more or less a completely conflicted emotional basket case?’
    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.’
      • ‘By any normal measure, both would be considered economic basket cases.’
      • ‘Yesterday's miracle economies have become today's basket cases, nations whose assets have evaporated but whose debts remain all too real.’
      • ‘The region is an economic basket case.’
      • ‘His biggest acquisition was a basket case when he took it over in 2001.’
      • ‘How, exactly, does a country in such a prosperous position end up a basket case?’
      • ‘One of the country's top economists has rejected the popular view that the economy is a basket case and is headed for trouble.’
      • ‘Seven years ago, the airline had been a flying basket case, a perennial money loser facing a third go-round in bankruptcy court.’
      • ‘The economic indicators show this mineral rich country is a basket case.’
      • ‘He says the excise decision has turned a business that was turning over $10 million a year into a potential corporate 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’
      • ‘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 company is struggling against its competition but it is no basket case.’
      • ‘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 country has no oil, virtually no natural resources of any kind, and is surrounded by bullies and basket cases.’
      • ‘It's not the financial basket case it's been painted as, but it does need to be modernised to meet future challenges.’
      • ‘English Heritage said the listed sites were "basket cases" and 65 million was urgently needed to save them.’
      • ‘The biggest winners of next year will probably be corporate basket cases recovering from past woes.’
      • ‘The banks are effectively basket cases.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

basket case

/ˈbaskət ˌkās//ˈbæskət ˌkeɪs/