A man who became a basket case after his divorce; a country that is an economic basket case.
Origin of basket-case
- Originally World War I military slang soldier who has lost all four limbs
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- The term originated from WWI, indicating a soldier missing both his arms and legs, who needed to be literally carried around in a litter or "basket." Today it indicates a state of helplessness similar to the metaphoric removal of the appendages, most frequently in the context of mental health or aptitude.