collateral damage


noun

the killing of civilians in a military attack.
any damage incidental to an activity.

Nearby words

  1. collat.,
  2. collate,
  3. collateral,
  4. collateral artery,
  5. collateral circulation,
  6. collateral fissure,
  7. collateral hyperemia,
  8. collateral inheritance,
  9. collateral ligament,
  10. collateral sulcus

Origin of collateral damage

First recorded in 1985–90

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for collateral damage

collateral damage

noun

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

Word Origin and History for collateral damage

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