"casualty" = person killed, as in battle or an accident

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Jul 12 15:48:14 UTC 2006


This word is constantly misused as above, so OED needs a def. 2.d.  Here's an ex. from an Associate Professor at Barnard:

  1999 Lisa Gordis _Reading _Drum-Taps_ and _Battle-Pieces_ (http://www.columbia.edu/~lmg21/BC3180/3180note99/civwar99.html ):  The Civil War was a phenomenally bloody war, producing more American casualties than any war before or since. There were more than a quarter of a million Confederate dead, and more than 360,000 casualties in the Union army.

  Newspersons usually observe the difference between "casualties" and "deaths," but not always.  When I taught a course on war and literature, most of my students assumed that a casualty was a death only.

  The confusion results in Internet claims that "60,000 British soldiers were killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme," or "There were 20,000 casualties."  In actual fact, there were nearly 60,000 casualties, close to 20,000 of them killed in action.  More than plenty, one would think.

  JL


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