From casual, from Middle French casuel, from Medieval Latin casualitas and Late Latin cāsuālis (“happening by chance”), from Latin cāsus (“event”) (English case), from cadere (“to fall”). Originally meaning “a chance event” (compare casual, as in “casual encounter”), it developed a negative meaning as “an unfortunate event”, especially the loss of a person.
- Something that happens by chance, especially an unfortunate event; an accident, a disaster.
- A person suffering from injuries or who has been killed due to an accident or through an act of violence.
- (proscribed) Specifically, a person who has been killed (not only injured) due to an accident or through an act of violence; a fatality.
- (military) A person in military service who becomes unavailable for duty, for any reason (notably death, injury, illness, capture, or desertion).
- (Britain) The accident and emergency department of a hospital.
- An incidental charge or payment.
- Someone or something adversely affected by a decision, event or situation.
- 1962 December, “Beyond the Channel: Switzerland: Federal aid for three minor lines”, in Modern Railways, page 418:
- Among recent casualties is the S.B.B.'s branch from Nyon to Divonne-les-Bains, just across the French frontier, closed to all traffic at the commencement of the winter service.
- (obsolete) Chance nature; randomness.
- 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970:, NYRB 2001, vol.1, p.327-8:
- The non-necessary [causes] follow; of which, saith Fuchsius, no art can be made, by reason of their uncertainty, casualty, and multitude […]
The term casualty is sometimes used to mean “a killed person”; in more careful use this is referred to as a fatality, and casualty instead means “killed or injured”.
- (something that happens by chance): fortune, luck; see also Thesaurus:luck
- (hospital's accident and emergency):