ca·su·al·ty | \ˈka-zhəl-tē, 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


accident, mischance, mishap

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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

Safi said the casualty toll in the Wednesday morning attack was only an initial report and could rise. Fox News, "Suicide car bomber kills 2 police officials in Afghanistan," 29 May 2018 My city made headlines as the location of the deadliest mass shooting in the United States after forty-nine people were killed at Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016, only surpassed in casualties by the Las Vegas shooting last October. Claudia Connors, Seventeen, "I Lost Hope After the Pulse Shooting, But The March for Our Lives Renewed It," 26 Mar. 2018 United Nations figures on civilian casualties in Afghanistan show a slight decrease in 2017 from the previous year, but the numbers remained at historically high levels, with two-thirds of them caused by the insurgents. Taimoor Shah And Fahim Abed,, "Car bomb explodes in Afghanistan, killing 16, as team tries to defuse it," 23 May 2018 Scottsdale Police confirmed in a tweet that officers were responding to a plane crash at the TPC Scottsdale Champions Golf Course, but said there was no information immediately available on casualties. CBS News, "Small plane crashes onto Arizona golf course," 10 Apr. 2018 The total number of casualties was confirmed as 17 on Wednesday evening. Karen Mizoguchi,, "Kim Kardashian, Ellen DeGeneres and More Stars Demand Action in Wake of Florida School Shooting," 15 Feb. 2018 There is still no update on how many casualties there may be. Angela Helm, The Root, "17 Reported Dead in Fatal Florida High School Shooting; More Injured," 14 Feb. 2018 The long list of casualties include Tom Cleverley, Christian Kabasele and Will Hughes, with Miguel Britos, who only recently returned to training following a short spell out of the team, also on the list., "Watford Boss Javi Gracia Faces Selection Crisis With 10 First-Team Players Missing Through Injury," 10 Feb. 2018 While the Yemeni forces were able to shoot down some drones, others succeed in dropping explosives that led to casualties and damaged equipment. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "With Much at Stake in Yemen Port, Coalition Puts Advance on Hold," 8 July 2018

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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Statistics for casualty

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for casualty

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

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More Definitions for casualty



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 \
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- \
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- \
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 casualty Internal Revenue Code

2 : something lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed — see also casualty gain at gain, casualty loss at loss

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More from Merriam-Webster on casualty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for casualty

Spanish Central: Translation of casualty

Nglish: Translation of casualty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of casualty for Arabic Speakers

Comments on casualty

What made you want to look up casualty? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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