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

There most certainly will be collateral damage, including many manufacturers and particularly all consumers, who will pay more. Phillip Molnar,, "Can the U.S. economy withstand a trade war?," 13 July 2018 Yet the collateral damage for the Democrats was massive, and enduring. Neil Swidey,, "How Democrats would be better off if Bill Clinton had never been president," 10 July 2018 When the mission goes off-course, CIA deputy director Cynthia Foards (Catherine Keener) sees Isabel as collateral damage, and Graver gives Alejandro the order to take her out. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Review: 'Sicario' gets a grim but timely sequel in 'Day of the Soldado'," 27 June 2018 The bomb’s small size reduces collateral damage and would allow the Reaper to achieve more kills or attack strikes per mission, Air Force officials said. Fox News, "Air Force expands mission for Reaper attack drones, adds new weapons," 28 June 2018 Authorities are unsure about where and when the couple were exposed to the nerve agent, but believe their illness may be collateral damage from the Skripal poisoning. Ciara Nugent, Time, "'There Will Be Severe Pain.' What to Know About the New Novichok Nerve Agent Poisoning in the U.K.," 5 July 2018 This is the collateral damage of addiction, the impact on those who love and worry about the addict. Alexandra Rockey Fleming,, "Opioid addiction and overdoses in children devastate their parents," 3 July 2018 But what is the collateral damage on a personal basis and a cultural basis? Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "'Hamilton' star's 'Blindspotting' reinvents buddy films in thrilling ride," 1 June 2018 These treatments come with immense collateral damage, however, and many of the more fragile tissues, including ovarian follicles, may be wiped out alongside the tumors. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "How Artificial Ovaries Could Expand Fertility Options For Chemo Patients," 5 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.

See More

First Known Use of collateral damage

1947, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about collateral damage

Share collateral damage

Statistics for collateral damage

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for collateral damage

The first known use of collateral damage was in 1947

See more words from the same year

Comments on collateral damage

What made you want to look up collateral damage? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!