ca·​su·​al·​ty | \ ˈka-zhəl-tē How to pronounce casualty (audio) , ˈkazh-wəl-, ˈka-zhə-wəl- \
plural casualties

Definition of casualty

1a : a military person lost through death, wounds, injury, sickness, internment, or capture or through being missing in action The army sustained heavy casualties.
b : a person or thing injured, lost, or destroyed : victim the ex-senator was a casualty of the last election
2 : serious or fatal accident : disaster losses from fire, storm, or other casualty— J. S. Seidman
3 archaic : chance, fortune losses that befall them by mere casualty— Sir Walter Raleigh

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Synonyms for casualty


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Examples of casualty in a Sentence

a low number of casualties the real casualties in the war against drugs are millions of innocent children
Recent Examples on the Web Cancer research has become a casualty of the pandemic as funding has dried up and the focus has turned to finding a Covid-19 vaccine. NBC News, "Pandemic accelerates with 18.5 percent jump in new U.S. cases," 21 Oct. 2020 Fellow Dow component, property-casualty insurer Travelers, added 5% after reporting that its net income more than doubled in the third quarter. Anna Hirtenstein, WSJ, "Stocks Rise Ahead of Stimulus Talks Deadline," 20 Oct. 2020 Tacos Mariachi is a casualty of the pandemic; the lack of walk-up traffic during the beginning of the coronavirus crisis hit the shop hard. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, "Checking in on Lowest Greenville in Dallas: Restaurants open, closed and coming soon," 9 Oct. 2020 That was a casualty of a pandemic that has sharply reduced the number of American schools that are fully open. Paul Wiseman, Star Tribune, "AP Explains: 5 key takeaways from the September jobs report," 2 Oct. 2020 More than 206,000 Americans have died of Covid-19 as of Tuesday night, one of the largest mass-casualty events in the country’s history. Lev Facher, STAT, "Trump’s debate highlights his hunger for a rushed, election-eve vaccine approval," 29 Sep. 2020 After all, the COVID-19 death toll so far is the biggest mass-casualty event in American history aside from the Civil War, the Second World War, and the 1918 flu pandemic. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "Here Are Twenty Other Disturbing, Awful Things That Trump Has Said This Month, and It’s Not Over Yet," 24 Sep. 2020 No ‘Taste’ this year: Another popular summer event is a casualty of the ongoing health crisis. Carol Kovach, cleveland, "Lakewood school officials to discuss challenges of new academic year: A Place in the Sun," 18 Aug. 2020 Iola Abas of the Peat Monitoring Network, an NGO, worries that peatland may be a casualty of rushed, shambolic planning and a lack of transparency. The Economist, "For peat’s sake Indonesia risks repeating an environmental disaster," 15 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'casualty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of casualty

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for casualty

see casual entry 1

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Time Traveler for casualty

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The first known use of casualty was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries near casualty

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Statistics for casualty

Last Updated

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Casualty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for casualty


How to pronounce casualty (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of casualty

: a person who is hurt or killed during an accident, war, etc.
: a person or thing that is harmed, lost, or destroyed


ca·​su·​al·​ty | \ ˈka-zhəl-tē How to pronounce casualty (audio) \
plural casualties

Kids Definition of casualty

1 : a person who is hurt or killed in a war, disaster, or accident
2 : a person or thing injured, lost, or destroyed The old tree was a casualty of the storm.


ca·​su·​al·​ty | \ ˈkazh-əl-tē, ˈkazh-(ə-)wəl- How to pronounce casualty (audio) \
plural casualties

Medical Definition of casualty

1 : a serious or fatal accident
2 : a military person lost through death, wounds, injury, sickness, internment, or capture or through being missing in action
3a : injury or death from accident
b : one injured or killed (as by accident)

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ca·​su·​al·​ty | \ ˈka-zhəl-tē, ˈka-zhə-wəl- How to pronounce casualty (audio) \
plural casualties

Legal Definition of casualty

1 : an unfortunate occurrence especially : a serious and often disastrous accident conversion of property…arising from fire, storm, shipwreck, or other casualtyInternal Revenue Code
2 : something lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed — see also casualty gain at gain, casualty loss at loss

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