friendly fire


Definition of friendly fire

: the firing of weapons from one's own forces or those of an ally especially when resulting in the accidental death or injury of one's own personnel Near the river bordering our camp I find the tents of the four soldiers who were supposedly hit by friendly fire.— Janine Di Giovanni After all, accidental attacks, though tragic, are common in war. In 1967 alone, "friendly fire" killed 5,373 Americans fighting in Vietnam.— Michael Oren

Examples of friendly fire in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web My body's immune system had gone haywire, responding to the virus by attacking my own nerves, causing loss of sight and mobility -- I had been struck down by biological friendly fire. Vanessa Potter, CNN, "My sudden synesthesia: how I went blind and started hearing colors," 10 Oct. 2017 And this was only one of two recent headlines about Trump being blasted by friendly fire. Leonard Pitts And Jr., miamiherald, "The secret - not! - is out: Trump is a lousy excuse for a U.S. president | Miami Herald," 10 Oct. 2017 He was killed by friendly fire in 2004 near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Andrew Joseph, USA TODAY, "Ex-Army Ranger: Tillman would've taken a knee," 28 Sep. 2017 Two years after enlisting, he was killed by friendly fire during a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Char Adams,, "Pat Tillman’s Widow Criticizes Donald Trump for Politicizing Husband’s Death Amid NFL Protest," 26 Sep. 2017 Initially said to have been killed by enemy fire in a battle with the Taliban, the U.S. military later revealed that Tillman was killed by friendly fire. Kalhan Rosenblatt, NBC News, "Pat Tillman’s Widow Criticizes ‘Politicized’ Use of His Image," 26 Sep. 2017 He was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan two years later. Kirk Kenney,, "Scouting report: Aztecs at Arizona State," 4 Sep. 2017

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

1918, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for friendly fire

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The first known use of friendly fire was in 1918

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Cite this Entry

“Friendly fire.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

Comments on friendly fire

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


to state or do over again or repeatedly

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