collateral damage


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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web At its core, the film argues, is a divisive battle over land and special interests, one in which horses are collateral damage. Brent Lang, Variety, 6 Apr. 2023 Antitrust regulation is running off the rails in Europe and the U.S., and their citizens could wind up as collateral damage. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 6 Sep. 2022 Along with the sisters’ individual storylines, intrafamilial tensions and the often farcical failures of their attempts to kill John Paul — not without some serious collateral damage, seriously felt — keep things chugging throughout the series’ length. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 19 Aug. 2022 Not everyone, after all, has to worry about how their father’s death is going to influence the financial markets and potentially tank their company’s stock price, costing them millions of dollars as collateral damage. Brian Lowry, CNN, 9 Apr. 2023 My sister wasn’t collateral damage. Daniella Silva, NBC News, 7 Apr. 2023 The schools bear the burden of the impact of the exposure to social media, including the mental health toll as well as other collateral damage, the suit alleges. Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 Mar. 2023 And the players are collateral damage. Vince Guerrieri, Popular Mechanics, 8 Feb. 2023 However, a senior U.S. official warned that the balloon is carrying heavy equipment and is the size of at least two school buses and would hit the ground at significant speed if shot down, raising the possibility of civilian casualties and other collateral damage. Adam Shaw, Fox News, 3 Feb. 2023 See More

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 7 Jun. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on collateral damage

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