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 In the July operation, an Israeli commando was killed by friendly fire. Susannah George, Washington Post, 13 Nov. 2023 The problem with the J’s is eternal friendly fire bad luck, so much of it created by poor decision-making, which comes from stubbornness and simply not being smart when intelligence — not recklessness — is called for. Nick Canepacolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Jan. 2023 Read more Jets assistant coach Tony Oden hospitalized after a ''friendly fire'' during a practice skirmish. USA TODAY, 17 Aug. 2023 The only true Challenger 2 kill came from friendly fire from another Challenger 2 tank, which killed two of the crew and set the vehicle ablaze. Sébastien Roblin, Popular Mechanics, 6 Sep. 2023 Miami Marlins third base coach Jody Reed was hit by friendly fire. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, 20 July 2023 Israel estimates that 13 armed combatants were killed in the two-day operation along with one Israeli soldier whom sources say was possibly killed by friendly fire. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 July 2023 His death was still under investigation, the Israeli authorities said, leaving open the possibility that the soldier may have been killed by friendly fire. Aaron Boxerman, New York Times, 5 July 2023 Earlier in 2018, the Russian Air Force lost an Il-22M over Syria to friendly fire following an Israeli air strike. Sébastien Roblin, Popular Mechanics, 27 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'friendly fire.' 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

1918, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of friendly fire was in 1918

Dictionary Entries Near friendly fire

Cite this Entry

“Friendly fire.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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