Definition of basket case in English:

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basket case



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
More example sentences
  • My sister is a complete basket case, has been since she was 12.
  • 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 shut me down and gave the camera a 10 second look as if to say ‘What a basket case!’
1.1A 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
More example sentences
  • The company is struggling against its competition but it is no basket case.
  • The biggest winners of next year will probably be corporate basket cases recovering from past woes.
  • It is not hyperbole to say that the derivatives industry is looking increasingly like a basket case, or at the minimum a potential accident.


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

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