from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A count of individual bodies, such as those of troops killed in combat operations.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The number of persons or bodies counted as casualties, especially of those killed in a disaster or battle.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a count of troops killed in an operation or time period


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word body count.


    Sorry, no example sentences found.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "As word of the impending Newsweek article spread, John Paul Vann, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who was by then the third-most-powerful American serving in Vietnam, and his deputy, Colonel David Farnham, met in Washington with Army Chief of Staff General William Westmoreland. At that meeting, Vann told Westmoreland that Ewell's troops had wantonly killed civilians in order to boost the body count -- the number of enemy dead that served as the primary indicator of success in the field -- and so further the general's reputation and career."

    - Nick Turse, Apologies, Anger, and Apathy: My Lai and Lockerbie Reconsidered,, 30 August 2009.

    August 31, 2009