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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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

Marc Short, former White House legislative affairs director, said in an interview the USMCA is a potential casualty of a Democratic victory. Vivian Salama, WSJ, "Democrats’ House Victory Complicates Passage of New Nafta, Trade Deals," 8 Nov. 2018 Top operatives in both political parties concede that Democrats’ narrow path to the Senate majority has essentially disappeared, a casualty of surging Republican enthusiasm across GOP strongholds. Lisa Mascaro, The Seattle Times, "Senate slipping away as Dems fight to preserve blue wave," 23 Oct. 2018 Shutterstock But plant products are also going to be a casualty in the trade war. Umair Irfan, Vox, "“Fake milk”: why the dairy industry is boiling over plant-based milks," 31 Aug. 2018 Air quality has been another casualty of the fires. Fox News, "Firefighters battle to curb wildfire before winds return," 10 Aug. 2018 Saudi Arabia has also bought precision bombs and missiles, though some U.S. lawmakers are seeking to block further shipments because of their use in Yemen, which has resulted in thousands of civilian casualties. Doug Cameron, WSJ, "U.S.-Saudi Defense Ties on Track to Weather Controversy," 18 Oct. 2018 The pair challenge each other to a Gladiator-style duel (in which episode host Adam Driver also becomes an unintended casualty) that ends with Davidson impaling Mooney with a sword. Zoe Weiner, Glamour, "SNL Epically Roasted Cast Member Pete Davidson About His Summer With Ariana Grande," 30 Sep. 2018 This is Mother Russia, and buried at her feet lie the remains of tens of thousands of casualties of the Battle of Stalingrad, the conflict that will forever define this city. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "In Volgograd, It’s Stalin Who Lurks on the Sideline," 27 June 2018 There were no immediate reports of Palestinian casualties. Amir Cohen And Nidal Al-mughrabi, The Christian Science Monitor, "Gaza escalates attacks, Israel responds with airstrikes," 29 May 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

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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

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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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