from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.
- noun One that is in a completely hopeless or useless condition.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- noun idiomatic, slang, potentially offensive One made
powerlessor ineffective, as by nerves, panicor stress.
- noun idiomatic A
countryin a difficult economicor financialsituation.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
The term originated from WWI British English, 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.
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