Latin, literally "wonderful year, year of wonders," title of a 1667 publication by Dryden, with reference to 1666, which was a year of calamities in London (plague, fire, war), but the English overcame them and scored important military victories in the war against the Dutch. From annus "year" (see annual (adj.)) + mirabilis "wonderful, marvelous, extraordinary; strange, singular" (see marvel (n.)).
1919, American English, originally a reference to rumors of quadriplegics as a result of catastrophic wounds suffered in World War I (the U.S. military authorities vehemently denied there were any such in its hospitals), from basket (n.) + case (n.2). Probably literal, i.e., stuck in a basket, but basket had colloquial connotations of poverty (begging) and helplessness long before this. The figurative sense of "person emotionally unable to cope" is from 1921.
also court martial, "court of military or naval officers to try cases of desertion, mutiny, etc.," 1650s (plural courts martial), originally martial court (1570s), from court (n.) + martial (adj.). Word-order changed on the model of French cour martiale. As a verb, from 1859. Related: Court-martialed. Middle English had court-spiritual "ecclesiastical court" (late 15c.).
also homefront, 1918, from home (n.) + front (n.) in the military sense. A term from World War I; popularized (if not coined) by the agencies running the U.S. propaganda effort.
The battle front in Europe is not the only American front. There is a home front, and our people at home should be as patriotic as our men in uniform in foreign lands. [promotion for the Fourth Liberty Loan appearing in U.S. magazines, fall 1918]
by 1759 in lexicons of nautical language, "the part of a cable which is round about the bitts" (the two great timbers used to belay cables) when the ship is at anchor (see bitt).
Bitter end of the Cable, the End which is wound about the Bitts. ["The News-Readers Pocket-Book: Or, a Military Dictionary," London, 1759]
When a cable is played out to the bitter end, there is no more left to play. Hence the term began to be used c. 1835 in non-nautical language and with probable influence of if not displacement by bitter (adj.).