Synonyms for basket case

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Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

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Poor Otto ended up a basket case, just in time to have the damned stuff start all over again at the stumps of his arms and legs.

WORD ORIGIN

1919, American English, originally a reference to rumors of quadriplegics as a result of catastrophic wounds suffered in World War I (the military vehemently denied there were any such in its hospitals), from basket (n.) + case (n.2). Probably literal, i.e., stuck in a basket, but basket had colloquial connotations of poverty (begging) and helplessness long before this. Figurative sense of "person emotionally unable to cope" is from 1921.

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Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.