Social Sciences

Why Do We Call People "Basket Cases"?

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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.

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.

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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?

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