My 11-year-old son was astounded to hear that “friendly fire” was not friendly at all. “You’ve got to be kidding,” he nearly spat when he learned the definition: killing fellow troops by accident. “I thought it meant you shot at but didn’t hurt someone. Why don’t they just say it’s like a home goal?”Incidentally, “home goal” appears to be a recent, perhaps egg-corned version of “own goal,” the venerable soccer term for putting the ball into one’s own net. Though far less popular on the web than its predecessor, “home goal” has started to appear in newspaper headlines.
“Fighting Words” at the Columbia Journalism Review discusses the problem with common martial euphemisms: