collateral damage


Definition of 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

As firefighters, one of the core principles we’re taught is to solve the problem at hand while causing the least collateral damage possible. Andrew Northshield, Popular Mechanics, "How To Get Keys Out of a Locked Car," 19 Dec. 2018 The result is a new disadvantage for US assembly plants, left as collateral damage in the escalating trade war. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "How Trump’s tariffs will hurt US tech companies," 18 Sep. 2018 Their only experience of the US has been at the hands of the Trump administration, which treated the parents as criminals and the children as collateral damage. Dara Lind, Vox, "Americans are stepping up to show reunited migrant families there’s more to their country than Trump," 26 July 2018 The university’s fate is seen as collateral damage from the ideological struggle between Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s nationalistic, anti-immigrant government and the founder of CEU, Hungarian-American billionaire and philanthropist George Soros. Pablo Gorondi, The Seattle Times, "Soros-backed university in Hungary partly moving to Vienna," 25 Oct. 2018 And anyone who gets in the way is collateral damage. Fox News, "Mueller investigation criticized as being 'one-sided'," 24 Aug. 2018 Now Canidae and other U.S. brands have become collateral damage in a trade war that encompasses hundreds of billions of dollars in goods that flow between the two countries. Ailin Tang, The Seattle Times, "The trade war’s latest casualties: China’s coddled cats and dogs," 23 Oct. 2018 Leaf blowers also pose a severe threat to the living leaves still attached to trees and bushes—collateral damage from blowers aimed at the ground. Adrienne Bernhard, WSJ, "Leaf Blowers Are Loud, Ugly and Dangerous," 18 Oct. 2018 The critical Meltdown and Spectre bugs baked deep into modern computer processors will have ramifications on the entire industry for years to come, and Chrome just became collateral damage. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Chrome gobbles much more RAM due to Google's 'Site Isolation' protection for Spectre CPU flaws," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'collateral damage.' 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 collateral damage

1947, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

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The first known use of collateral damage was in 1947

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