I thought that "casualty" means a person who is hurt due to an accident, war etc. Or an accident itself.

But in these examples "casualty" is used in a more general context, doesn't look like there is any war or accident implied:

1.The environment was often the first casualty of rapid industrialization and its preservation should therefore be given due priority.
2. I won't allow myself to become another casualty of these people.

Can "casualty" really be used outside the context of accidents, wars etc?
If so, what's the difference between "casualty" and "victim"? Can those be used as synonyms?


2 Answers 2


One of the differences is that victim is a role, ie how we are viewed by ourself or others. Compare these alternatives:

2a. I won't allow myself to become another casualty of these people.

I won't allow myself to be hurt by them.

2b. I won't allow myself to become another victim of these people.

I won't allow myself to be hurt by them AND/OR I don't want to think of myself as being a victim, ie to take on the victim role in my relationship with them.

"Casualty" doesn't have this connotation.

I think that in your first example you could use "victim" without changing the meaning.


"Casualty" has some meanings that "victim" doesn't, "casualty" can be used for people who were injured in an accident or war whether fatal or not; also it is used for referring to those accidents and wars; in British English they use this term for referring to hospital departments responsible for victims of an accident or war.

Besides this, there was an interesting comment about these mysterious differences, saying that the injuries and physical harms make the difference: when you say "casualty" when people are injured whether fatal or not, but in the case of using "victim", people are not necessarily injured or physically harmed.


  • In fact, what used to be the "Casualty" department of a British hospital is now called "Accident & Emergency". I wonder whether the questioner's first example is related to the saying that in war, the first casualty is truth? Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 8:57

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