Social Sciences

Why Do We Call People "Basket Cases"?

News: The Curiosity Podcast is here! Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, SoundCloud and RSS.

We often refer to people acting in a crazy manner as "basket cases," but why? The phrase actually dates back to World War I and originally referred to people with physical disabilities. In the March 1919 edition of New York's "Syracuse Herald," the newspaper defined a basket case as a soldier who had lost both their arms and legs, and therefore had to be carried in a basket. To hear more about phrases with dubious origins, watch the following videos.

Advertisement

Love getting smarter? Sign up to our newsletter and get our best content in your inbox!

Origins Of The Phrase Basket Case

It was physical, not mental.

Why Do We Call It A "Crush"?

You can thank Isabella Maud Rittenhouse's 1884 journal entry.

Share the knowledge!

Key Facts In This Video

  1. A crush is defined as: an intense but usually short-lived infatuation, or the object of such an infatuation. 00:06

  2. The slang use of "crush" first appears in a journal entry written in 1884. 01:14

  3. Linguist Warren Clements believes that "crush" was came from the word "mash" which was an offspring of the word "spoony". 01:51

Why "Merry" Is Reserved for Christmas

Happy birthday, happy Halloween, happy New Year... merry Christmas?

Advertisement