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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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for casualties
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Only 15 casualties were reported from the whole Brigade, none of which fell to the share of our Battalion.

    The War Service of the 1/4 Royal Berkshire Regiment (T. F.) Charles Robert Mowbray Fraser Cruttwell
  • The casualties were remarkably low considering the circumstances.

    1914 John French, Viscount of Ypres
  • The total Allied casualties were not as large as the number of Germans taken prisoner.

    America's War for Humanity Thomas Herbert Russell
  • There must always be some casualties, and probably there were some likewise on the other side.

    The Greville Memoirs (Second Part) Charles C. F. Greville
  • casualties were not exceptionally heavy, but the strenuous work and perpetual stress of the nerves told on them.

    Norman Ten Hundred A. Stanley Blicq
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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