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collateral damage

noun
1.
the killing of civilians in a military attack.
2.
any damage incidental to an activity.
Origin of collateral damage
1985-1990
1985-90
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for collateral damage
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He is liable for direct damage both to your chimneys and any collateral damage caused by fall of bricks into garden, etc., etc.

    With The Night Mail Rudyard Kipling
  • When used, Rapid Dominance would ensure favorable early resolution of issues with minimal loss of lives and collateral damage.

    Shock and Awe Harlan K. Ullman
  • Rapid Dominance would ensure favorable early resolution of issues at minimal loss of lives and collateral damage.

    Shock and Awe Harlan K. Ullman
British Dictionary definitions for collateral damage

collateral damage

noun
1.
(military) unintentional damage to civil property and civilian casualties, caused by military operations
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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Contemporary definitions for collateral damage
noun

unintentional harm to persons or property as the result of military action

Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for collateral damage
n.

by 1873 in legal cases; in modern use, generally a euphemism for "the coincidental killing of civilians," U.S. coinage, c.1968, at first generally with reference to nuclear weapons.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Difficulty index for collateral damage

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for collateral

12
16
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