Definition of casualty in US English:



  • 1A person killed or injured in a war or accident.

    • ‘World War I saw a civilian casualty rate of about 15 per cent (of total casualties).’
    • ‘Police said the casualty figures would have been much higher if they had not acted on the phone warning.’
    • ‘Police resorted to firing and one of the casualties was killed in police firing. 15 persons have been arrested.’
    • ‘Swindon's roads have never been safer according to the latest casualty figures.’
    • ‘But casualties involving goods vehicles totalled 97 last year - the highest casualty figure recorded in the Bradford district.’
    • ‘The final death and casualty figures for this catastrophe will never be certain, and are so large as to be difficult to comprehend anyway.’
    • ‘Another complicating factor is whether or not psychiatric cases are included in the casualty figures.’
    • ‘You had heard the news, you heard the casualty figures, and now you saw the trauma that the people went through.’
    • ‘And as we get more and faster trains on to the rails we can expect more deaths, so the casualty figures coldly used in cost benefit studies are all going to be out of date anyway.’
    • ‘What are our total casualty figures and how many more casualties are we willing to endure?’
    • ‘Treating seriously injured casualties in extreme cold weather conditions is very difficult.’
    • ‘Road casualty figures just released, show that overall, road deaths are the lowest they have ever been since records began in 1926.’
    • ‘In reality these civilians are no less casualties of war than if they were killed on the day the bombing began.’
    • ‘The difficulty in tracking casualties is that the injured, wounded, and sick may be treated in any number of facilities.’
    • ‘We've arrived here and the casualty figures have risen enormously.’
    • ‘Road casualty figures for 2003 show that serious accidents fell by 15 to 82 compared to the previous year.’
    • ‘Two of the casualties became badly trapped and fire fighters had to use special cutting equipment to free the injured.’
    • ‘Regardless of this, the casualty figures for the Black Death were massive.’
    • ‘Then the news started pouring in: four bombed trains, dozens of casualties, hundreds of injured.’
    • ‘Center court was now a mass casualty scene, with injured personnel streaming out of Corridors 3 and 4 and wounded lying everywhere.’
    victim, fatality, mortality
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    1. 1.1 A person or thing badly affected by an event or situation.
      ‘the building industry has been one of the casualties of the recession’
      • ‘It's sad, but current events and an awareness of them has been a casualty of my current lifestyle.’
      • ‘She was an early casualty of what is now being seen as a wasted generation.’
      • ‘Major charities wanted to know how children, often the worst casualties of poverty, saw their own situations.’
      • ‘Faculty travel budgets and money for new faculty appointments are often early casualties.’
      • ‘The egg was an early casualty of the cholesterol war.’
      • ‘The first casualty of a disaster is always communication.’
      • ‘The first casualty of this double taxation was luxury glass, the city's traditional export.’
      • ‘The first casualties of this disastrous policy have been Asian voters, particularly women.’
      • ‘My voice was an early casualty in the Change, all I could manage was a watery gurgle.’
      • ‘A prize portfolio could mean a head start in the race, but those overlooked or given poisoned chalices would be early casualties.’
      • ‘Civil liberties are always early and intended casualties of wars - both actual or metaphoric.’
      • ‘For Einstein and children like him, confidence is an early casualty.’
      • ‘In anxious times, the free exchange of ideas is an early casualty.’
      • ‘But the dream of a new generation of nuclear power may prove to be the real casualty of last week's events.’
      • ‘Hopefully this cocoon of self-deception will be among the early casualties of the campaign.’
      • ‘But another early casualty is conscience, routinely smothered in the national media echo chamber.’
      • ‘Educated at Westminster and Oriel College, Oxford, he was an early casualty of the Oxford movement.’
      • ‘The date and location of the forum were a poignant reminder to many of those present of the impact of foot and mouth: the Great Yorkshire Show was the biggest event to fall casualty to the disease.’
      • ‘A big, bald-headed dude was passed out on the bunk above, an early casualty of beer and Valium.’
      victim, sufferer, loser, loss
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    2. 1.2 (chiefly in insurance) an accident, mishap, or disaster.
      • ‘Examples are: health problems, unemployment, damage to the home due to a casualty or disaster, and other reasons.’
      • ‘That is this case because the obligation to cover arose at the time of the casualty and it is that which under the approach in Albion gives rise to the double insurance situation.’
      • ‘The centre of gravity was so close to the tipping line that a minor force would cause the casualty.’
      • ‘Thus if the second casualty is due to an excepted peril, the rule of merger which applied in the case of an unrepaired partial loss to defeat the claim has no application.’
      • ‘Where a policy provides cover against one of two or more concurrent causes of a casualty, a claim will lie under the policy provided that there is no relevant exclusion.’
      • ‘It is hardly surprising in those circumstances that the House of Lords held that the shipowning company could not say that the casualty had occurred without its actual fault and privity.’
      • ‘In the present case the retainer is said to be for the purpose of investigating and advising on the casualty.’
      • ‘Had the glass been in place, the casualty would not have occurred.’
      • ‘The term ‘perils of the sea’ refers only to fortuitous accidents or casualties of the seas.’
      • ‘For wool to get wet in the rain is a casualty, though not a grave one; it is not a thing intended but is accidental; it is something which injures the wool from without; it does not develop from within.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘chance, a chance occurrence’): from medieval Latin casualitas, from casualis (see casual), on the pattern of words such as penalty.