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[kazh-oo-uh l-tee] /ˈkæʒ u əl ti/
noun, plural casualties.
  1. a member of the armed forces lost to service through death, wounds, sickness, capture, or because his or her whereabouts or condition cannot be determined.
  2. casualties, loss in numerical strength through any cause, as death, wounds, sickness, capture, or desertion.
one who is injured or killed in an accident:
There were no casualties in the traffic accident.
any person, group, thing, etc., that is harmed or destroyed as a result of some act or event:
Their house was a casualty of the fire.
a serious accident, especially one involving bodily injury or death.
Origin of casualty
late Middle English
1375-1425; casual + -ty2; replacing late Middle English casuelte, equivalent to casuel (see casual) + -te -ty2
Can be confused
casualty, causality, causation, cause (see synonym study at cause) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for casualties
  • It is likely that both sources underestimate the true number of civilian casualties.
  • Two more fires broke out during later missions, though without casualties.
  • It will not be long before the only casualties of war are civilians.
  • Dozens of casualties taught them to be more careful.
  • Some educators said that fact may have spared campuses from heavy casualties.
  • But even these attacks have often resulted in casualties to bystanders.
  • Deaths are estimated in the hundreds, casualties in the thousands.
  • Army is working on a new manual for preventing civilian casualties.
  • In combat, all casualties taken by your unit are tragedies.
  • In the past, a ship full of plague casualties could be turned away from port.
British Dictionary definitions for casualties


noun (pl) -ties
a serviceman who is killed, wounded, captured, or missing as a result of enemy action
a person who is injured or killed in an accident
a hospital department in which victims of accidents, violence, etc, are treated
anything that is lost, damaged, or destroyed as the result of an accident, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for casualties



early 15c., "chance, accident; incidental charge," from casual (adj.) on model of royalty, penalty, etc. Casuality had some currency 16c.-17c. but is now obsolete. Meaning "losses in numbers from a military or other troop" is from late 15c. Meaning "an individual killed, wounded, or lost in battle" is from 1844.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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