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 Given the change in Fiore’s posture between March and September, defense attorney Mary Nerino, a partner at Price Benowitz LLP, expressed concern that her client had become collateral damage in the dispute over decriminalizing marijuana possession. Washington Post, "Arlington’s top prosecutor, defender clash with judge," 13 Nov. 2020 As countries reopen, there is an urgent need to assess the scale of the collateral damage caused by lockdowns, both within Africa and globally, so leaders can make the best choices about how to rebuild their countries' economies. Tony Blair For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "The pandemic could push 49 million Africans into extreme poverty. Here's how other countries can help," 27 Oct. 2020 The truth is, Laika’s life was collateral damage, and the decades-long Russian project to memorialize her as a symbol of national pride is little more than a guilt-assuagement exercise. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "RIP, Laika: Space Dogs Will Break Your Heart," 7 Sep. 2020 Digital extortionists trying to capture as many ransom payments as possible could wreak havoc across multiple industries and sectors—leaving disruptive and potentially destructive collateral damage in their wake. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "Ransomware Hits Dozens of Hospitals in an Unprecedented Wave," 29 Oct. 2020 While the risk of collateral damage would hold significant weight in the sentencing phase of a conventional criminal or civil court proceeding, experts say the ITC’s mandate and structure makes leniency less likely. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Looming trade secrets decision may be ‘catastrophic’ for Ford and Volkswagen’s EV ambitions," 23 Oct. 2020 But collateral damage from these baseless claims goes far beyond the proposals themselves. Justin Sherman, Wired, "The GOP's Cries of 'Censorship' Are Hurting Democracy," 7 Oct. 2020 Killing mammals was either just collateral damage or a form of protection against possible predators. The Economist, "Evolution Why funnel-web spiders are so dangerous to people," 26 Sep. 2020 Noel Hunter, a clinical psychologist and author of Trauma and Madness in Mental Health Services, says that the concept of collateral damage is overgeneralized and based on scant statistics. Stav Dimitropoulos, National Geographic, "Will pandemic ‘coronababies’ live with long-term trauma?," 3 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for collateral damage

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The first known use of collateral damage was in 1947

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Statistics for collateral damage

Last Updated

20 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Collateral damage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2020.

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