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 Corroboration for the friendly fire theory proved elusive. Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica, 12 Apr. 2022 The Patriot system was also deployed in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom and was successful in hitting nine incoming missiles, but also were involved in several friendly fire incidents. Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN, 10 Mar. 2022 The Ukrainian pilots already qualified on the NATO Fulcrum MiG-29 will also need differences training, and then there’s the issue of friendly fire. WSJ, 13 Mar. 2022 Experts suggest the symbol was first used as a unit identification marking to avoid friendly fire between Russians. Sophie Mellor, Fortune, 7 Mar. 2022 The Clark County Sheriff’s Office also doesn’t provide any specific training on how to avoid friendly fire. oregonlive, 5 Feb. 2022 James then recounts an experience during the war where his company would shoot flag bearers—boys used to demarcate sides of the battlefield and avoid friendly fire during the fog of fighting. Josh St. Clair, Men's Health, 30 Jan. 2022 The group examined 26 fatal friendly fire shootings that occurred across the country from 1981 through 2009 and found that 10 involved the killing of an off-duty officer. oregonlive, 5 Feb. 2022 At the source of these patients’ woes is friendly fire from their own immune systems, which wipe out the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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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Statistics for friendly fire

Last Updated

19 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Friendly fire.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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