Green’s Dictionary of Slang

basket n.1

1. the stomach.

[[UK]Etherege Man of Mode I i: Go, call in that overgrown jade with the flasket of guts before her].
[UK]Barrère & Leland Dict. of Sl., Jargon and Cant I 85/2: Basket (old cant), used in the phrase ‘a kid in the basket,’ used of a woman in the family way.
[Aus]E. Dyson ‘The Big Spoof’ in Benno and Some of the Push 213: He kicks me fair in the basket, he gives me the boot hard in the bag.
J. Auslander Hell in Harness 39: Then he shoves / The cutest trick you ever saw / Flush to the basket / I was raw as a welt and winded. I was cooked.
[US] ‘Jiver’s Bible’ in D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.
[US]P. Rabe Murder Me for Nickels (2004) 85: He just plowed into his head, then close under the other’s basket.

2. (gay, also basketful of meat, basketwork, picnic basket) the male genitals; the bulge caused by their display in tight trousers; thus chicken with a basket, a ‘well-hung’ teenager .

[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[US]‘Swasarnt Nerf’ et al. Gay Girl’s Guide 3: basket: Male genitals as outlined against thin or tight clothing, generally used in connection with sailor pants, levis or swimming trunks. [Ibid.] 9: g.t.b.o.t.o.: Boston MBS [Male Bobby-Soxer] abbreviation for ‘Get the basket on that one’.
[US]D.W. Cory Homosexual in America 112: The obvious crotch is the basket, or sometimes the canasta.
[UK]J. Gielgud letter 3 Nov. in Mangan John Gielgud’s Letters (2004) 217: I even got a couple of bites at an old cherry which relieved the strain on my starving basketwork after so many weeks of frustration.
[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 3: basketful of meat (n.): A large penis (originally); but revised now to include all male genitalia. Rarely used now, the term basket (alone) supplanting it.
[US]L. Bruce Essential Lenny Bruce 214: Tight Levis with a padded basket.
[US]San Diego Sailor 1: He took a step forward and his basket came into sharp relief [...] There it was, all eight inches of it, outlined in the leg of his pants.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 45: chicken-with-a-basket [...] teenager who fills out his jockey shorts.
[US]R. Price Blood Brothers 148: Butler ran in front of the counter [...] grabbed his crotch and shook his basket at her back.
[US]personal ad. Murray & Murrell Lang. Sadomasochism (1989) 37: Ladies, if you want the biggest basket in town to whip, torment and fuck your asshole silly, I’m your girl.
[US]H. Max Gay (S)language 3: Basket—male genitalia.
[US]Gaymart.com Queer Sl. in the Gay 90s [Internet] Basket – A man’s crotch.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 268: Wayne walked in distracted. Dom checked his basket. Dom eyeball-stroked his bulge.
[SA]K. Cage Gayle 88/1: picnic basket n. bulge in trousers, swimsuit or underpants.

3. the vagina.

[US]D.H. Sterry Chicken (2003) 173: They’z gonna be some Easter bunnies with some tight little baskets for your ass.

4. see basket case

Pertaining to heterosexuality

In compounds

basket-maker (n.)

the vagina; thus a woman in a sexual context.

[UK]Prompter 6 Feb. 1/1: I am a Basket-Maker by trade [...] My Mistress having discover’d I had an excellent Talent for carrying on the Trade of Basket-Making, thought proper to transfer over to me the same Right and Title to all she has.
[UK]G. Stevens ‘The Sentiment Song’ in Songs Comic and Satyrical 126: The Brown Female-Reaper, who dares undertake her? / And the Wife of Will Wattle – The neat Basket-maker.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 78: Corbillon, m. The female pudendum; ‘the basket-maker’.
basket-making (n.) [‘making feet for children’s stockings’ (Grose, 1785)]

sexual intercourse; usu. in phr. the trade of basket-making, prostitution.

[UK]Comforts of Whoreing 8: [She] takes lodgings in Salisbury Court, and sets up the old Trade of Basket-making.
Devil and the Strumpet 3: She soon set up for her self an invincible Nanny-House [...] where the Trade of Basket-making went on for a considerable time.
[UK]N. Ward Compleat and Humorous Account of Remarkable Clubs (1756) 269: For the better Promotion of the good old Trade of basket-Making, she got an experienced Covy of Salacious Wag-Tails to settle a Club at her Cuniculary Ware-House.
N. Ward British Wonders 10: [They] Took up the Trade of basket-making. And humbly ply’d for small Rewards, Among His majesty’s Foot-Guards.
[UK]Laugh and Be Fat 27: The talkative Congregation might be undeceiv’d, and return home to their warm Beds, and there with their Husbands, fall to the old Trade of Basket-making.
[UK]Prompter 6 Feb. 1/1: My Mistress having discover’d I had an excellent Talent for carrying on the Trade of Basket-Making, thought proper to transfer over to me the same Right and Title to all she has, her deceased Spouse enjoy’d. In short, Sir, I am marry’d to her.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 7: Children unborn are said to be in the basket [...] ‘The old trade of basket-making’ alludes to the same kind of thing.
[UK] (ref. to 18C) J. McDonald Dict. of Obscenity etc. 67: As far back as the eighteenth century we have [...] basket (i.e. bastard) making.

Pertaining to homosexuality

In derivatives

basketeer (v.) [coined by the homosexual community, like a number of others, e.g. cruise v. (5), the term is now occas. applied to women]

(gay) to wander the streets gazing at male genitals; this can provide some men with adequate satisfaction, others may be simply sizing up the available talent for later developments; also as n.

[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 3: basketeer (n.): One who looks over the genitals of men as they show through their trousers.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.

In compounds

basket days (n.)

(US gay) a spell of fine weather, permitting one to wear light clothes that reveal one’s genitals.

[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 3: basket days (n.): A period of mild weather that permits men to wear garments light enough to reveal the contours of their baskets.
R.A. Farrell ‘Argot of the Homosexual Subculture’ in Anthropological Linguistics 98: BASKET DAYS (n.): A period of mild weather that permits persons to wear clothing that reveals the contours of their genitals or ‘baskets’.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.
basket picnic (n.)

(gay) staring at other men’s genitals while wandering the streets.

[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 3: basket picnic (n.): An expedition of basketeering; some homosexuals derive an erotic satisfaction from looking at the genitals of men as they show through the trousers.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.
basket weaver (n.)

(US gay) one who wears tight trousers for sexual display; thus basket-weaving, wearing tight trousers; basket-weaves, tight trousers.

[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 3: basket weaver (n:) One who habitually wears skintight pants with a view to display; the penis is frequently kept semierect or hard, either through youthful vigor or frequent groping or fondling of the crotch.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 28: basket-weaving wearing tight pants.
[UK] (ref. to 1960s) D. Hebdige Subculture 53: The hard-core Soho mod of 1964 [...] encased in ‘basket weaves’ or Rael’s originals.
basketwork (n.)

see sense 2 above.

In phrases

basketful of meat (n.)

see sense 2 above.

picnic basket (n.)

see sense 2 above.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

basket case (n.) [orig. WWI milit. use, a quadriplegic, who, bereft of all four limbs, is carried around in a basket]

1. (also basket) a cripple, either mentally or physically.

C.A. Smith New Words Self-Defined 19: ‘The Surgeon General of the Army [...] emphatically denies [...] the existence of “basket cases” in our hospitals. A basket case is a soldier who has lost both legs and arms and therefore can not be carried on a stretcher.’.
F.A. March Thesaurus Dict. Eng. Lang. n.p.: Words from Warfare [...] basket case: soldier who has lost both arms and legs.
Man in Arms 224: ‘And poor Tommy is a basket case — both legs and both arms gone?’ I started. ‘Yes, and the game little devil is quite cheerful about it because his eyes are as good as ever!’.
[UK]H.E. Bates Darling Buds of May (1985) 52: Always was a basket.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 8 Dec. in Proud Highway (1997) 592: I slid down a shale cliff during an elk hunt and almost turned into a basket case.
[UK]Graphic 25 July 6: There are various degrees of mental illness and a person needn’t be a basket case before he decides he should talk things over with a professional.
[US]R. Price Blood Brothers 201: Don’t get no heart attack on me! I get all the fuckin’ basket cases!
[UK]A-Team Storybook 18: You don’t want me to become a basket case, do you?
[US]T. Jones Pugilist at Rest 122: I’m a walking basket case, Dana.
[UK]Dandy 18 Sept. n.p.: That’s how we deal with a basket case!
[UK]A. Sillitoe Birthday 33: If he had survived as a basket case there would have been no one like Jenny to look after him.
[US]C. Hiaasen Nature Girl 68: Not all guys thought she was a basket case.
[Aus]L. Redhead Cherry Pie [ebook] ‘Shed’s running around interviewing every basket case who calls’.
[UK]Independent (London) 4 Sept. 7/3: There are strong signs of paranoia. He was a basket case.

2. one who is incapable of tackling a situation; also in non-human contexts.

P. Adler House is Not a Home 245: By New Year’s, 1935, after three months in the new house, I realized I’d wind up a basket case if I didn’t take a vacation.
Adams & Fyffe Corporate Promotables 113: I don’t run a basket case like some other plants were in the past. Some had a complete basket case on their hands. Interviewer: Basket case? Dictator: Yes, no procedural control, no discipline.
[UK]Manchester Guardian Weekly 22 May 16: Country-by-country investigations, even of the so-called basket cases like Bangladesh.
[US]Newsweek 1 Nov. n.p.: Spain is not yet an economic basket case [R].
[Can]Totally True Diaries of an Eighties Roller Queen [Internet] 8 May I was a basket case and didn’t sleep a wink. When I got home I tried to work and then went to bed.
[US]B. Hamper Rivethead (1992) 104: I slouched next to him fumbling for cigarettes, a complete basket case.
[US]C. Hiaasen Lucky You 160: Bode Gazzer was a basket case; any second he expected the blue flash of police lights.
[SA]Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg) 3 Mar. [Internet] South Africa is just another African basket case.
[UK]T. Black Artefacts of the Dead [ebook] Every time you go out that door you become a basket case with the stress and strain.

3. in fig. use, something extremely shocking, moving etc.

[US]L. Bruce How to Talk Dirty 85: If it was the ‘Basket Case’ (the act which had the most dramatic impact), you would get $50.

4. one who behaves in a notably eccentric manner.

[US]Sat. Rev. (US) 22 Jan. 16: Dad’s a basket case by the time he gets out to Yellowstone from the East.
[UK]Observer Mag. 12 Mar. 10: I’m [...] a fucking basket case, a lunatic.
[US] M. McBride Frank Sinatra in a Blender [ebook] He was a basket case, couldn’t take the stress .
basket cell (n.)

(US prison) a solitary confinement cell.

[US]A. Berkman Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (1926) 219: The whole week I look forward to the brief respite from the terrible ‘basket’ cell [...] The torture of the ‘basket’ is maddening.

In phrases

basket of chips (n.) [SE basket + chips, small pieces of wood sawn or chiselled off by a carpenter; f. an older Salop. saying, smile like a basket of chips]

used in phrs., usu. grin/smile like a basket of chips v., to grin broadly.

A Certain information 28: But what is it makes you Smile, Philologus, so like a Basket of Chips.
T. Burnet Second Tale of a Tub 194: When he smil’d — ’Twas like a Basket of Chips.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Basket. He grins like a Basket of Chips.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).
Spirit of the Public Journals 115: She smiled like a basket of chips, / As tall as a hay-pole her size, / As sweet as molasses her lips, / As bright as a button her eyes.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 25: On which the whole Populace flash’d the white grin / Like a basket of chips, and poor GEORGY gave in.
[US]R. Waln Hermit in America on Visit to Phila. 2nd series 27: ‘He grins like a basket of chips;’ cried a fifth.
[US]Knickerbocker (N.Y.) V:5 May 436: When one is good humored, it is apt to be remarked that ‘He is as smiling as a basket of chips.’ Now reader, is there anything so very humorous in a basket of chips? Does it wear a smile? I never could perceive that it did.
[US]Olympia (Wash. Territory) Pioneer 17 Mar. n.p.: Mr. Slidell is lying back in his chair, smiling like a basket of chips.
[US]Richmond Enquirer (VA) 17 Oct. n.p.: Blanche Martin, nymph du pave, who appeared in Court, in the exquisite language of a Western poet, ‘as smiling as a basket of chips’.
[US]Appleton’s Journal (N.Y.) 9 Dec. 669: There is another class of similes scarcely as pertinent; as, for instance: [...] talk to him like a Dutch uncle; smiling as a basket of chips; odd as Dick’s hatband; happy as a clam at high water; quicker than you can say Jack Robinson; like all possessed; like fury; like all natur’; like all sixty; as quick as anything; mad as hops; mad as Halifax; sleep like a top; run like thunder; deader than a door-nail.
[US]R.T. Cooke Happy Dodd Ch. xxvi: They’ll make up to-night, and she’ll be as pleasant as a basket of chips.
[UK]Hull Packet 25 June 3/1: The Bud still went at it, as mad as hops, and as smiling as a basket of chips.
E.C. Hall Aunt Jane of Kentucky 45: There he was, as smilin’ as a basket o’ chips, if he did have to walk with a cane.
brought to the basket [the alms-basket on which poor prisoners in the public prisons were mainly dependent for food]

sent to prison.

[UK]Gentleman Instructed Pt I 6: God be praised! I am not brought to the basket, though I had rather live on charity than rapine .
fly the basket (v.)

(UK Und.) to steal a parcel or luggage from the basket, or rear part, of a stage coach.

[UK]J. Fielding Thieving Detected 43: Flying the Basket. [...] there is not a stage coach or machine which comes to London, but hath been robbed in this manner.
go to the basket (v.) [the alms-basket on which poor prisoners in the public prisons were mainly dependent for food]

to go to prison.

[UK]Massinger & Field Fatal Dowry (1632) V i: Arrested? [...] He is not worth your pitty, nor my anger. Goe to the basket, and repent.
in the basket

confused, nonplussed.

[UK]T. Creevey letter 10 July in Gore Creevey Papers (1948) 48: Poor Charlotte was rather ‘in the basket,’ for you know Ogles and Greys do not take much pains to make a stranger comfortable.
[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 253: Aha, Ned, you’re completely in the basket.
[UK]Bell’s Life in London 17 Oct. 3/1: Bill Atkinson feels vexed that Dick Curtis was not sharp enough to discover that he is quite ‘in the basket’ respecting his (Bill’s) challenge.