collateral damage


: injury inflicted on something other than an intended target
specifically : civilian casualties of a military operation

Examples of collateral damage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But beginning in 2012, Google made a number of spam-fighting changes to its ranking algorithms, and Metafilter, for mysterious reasons, suffered collateral damage. Steven Levy, WIRED, 12 July 2024 Along the way, people have been a kind of collateral damage. Brenda Goodman, CNN, 11 June 2024 The burial is a ghastly image that starkly illustrates the collateral damage that occurs when powerful people fight. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 1 July 2024 To varying degrees, each character has been undone by this crisis; all of them are collateral damage at the mercy of something larger and more insidious just out of view. Tim Grierson, Los Angeles Times, 27 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for collateral damage 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'collateral damage.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1947, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of collateral damage was in 1947

Dictionary Entries Near collateral damage

Cite this Entry

“Collateral damage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on collateral damage

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