collateral damage

Popular Terms
Euphemism used by the US military during the second Persian Gulf War (August 2, 1990 - March 3, 1991) as a casual description of civilian deaths caused by the Allied forces bombings. It was widely quoted as an example of insensitive doublespeak because of the underlying callous assumption that a killing called by another name is not a killing. It gained greater notoriety when the US terrorist Timothy McVeigh used it to brush aside the death of 19 young children by his bomb on April 19, 1995 in Oklahoma City in which 149 adults were also killed. In common usage, it means unexpected, unintentional, and/or unavoidable loss(es) accompanying or following an accident or failure.

Use 'collateral damage' in a Sentence

The public was horrified to hear of the large number of civilian casualties, but military brass understood that collateral damage was unavoidable in a large-scale action like the recent bombing campaign.
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Our squad suffered a lot of collateral damage from the bomb that went off and it even put some of them in critical condition.
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There may be some collateral damage from a decision you make but you just have to keep looking forward and trust you did what was right.
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