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So the other day we were talking  about the difference between wound and injury. Now apparently they are the same thing, and in incorrect English, one is often used in place of the other. But if you know and understand the substantial semantic difference, you will not use one for the other.

An injury is when you are hurt in some part of your body as a result of an accidental event. Therefore, you may be injured in an accident, at a game, while trying to lift something heavy, during an experiment or even when a bomb goes off, for instance. This means that there was no direct aggressor and your injury happened as a matter of course.

If you have a bad cut on your arm because the knife fell on it, you have an injury. There was no one who acted maliciously, and the knife fell on your arm as an accident, not showing intent. So even if there was bleeding or laceration, it is still an injury.

On the other hand, a wound is when there is tissue damage on your body as a result of direct aggression against you. So when you have a wound, it is necessary that there was a person who inflicted it on you and you are the victim. It also necessitates the presence of a weapon in causing the wound. That weapon could be anything, a knife, a gun, or even teeth.

If you got a bad cut on your arm as a result of a fight, you have a wound. The person you were fighting with acted out of aggression and put a knife in your arm. He was the cause and you are the victim. Since there was tissue damage too, it is a wound.

Now, you may also be injured by another person. But that is usually metaphorical, ie, when your pride is injured. There may be intent and aggression and in that case, the injury is physical. So, say, you were knocked out in a bar fight, and you have a black eye. The big bloke who punched you injured you, but did not draw blood, so did not wound you.

Hence we can say that all wounds are injuries, but not all injuries are wounds. A wound is only possible when there has been physical damage to your tissues and bleeding occurred as a result of it, as well as there being an act of aggression. An injury may be hurt or damage but does not indicate that there was bleeding, or that there was malicious intent.

Essential differences then?

1. A wound is a result of intent and aggression. Self-inflicted wounds may also be a result of aggression against oneself.
2. A wound implies that there has been visible physical damage and bleeding. You sustain wounds from a fight involving knives and need medical attention.
3. A wound is a direct result of a weapon being used on your body. When you refused to hand over your wallet, the mugger wounded you with his knife.
4. An injury may be caused by accident or aggression but until blood is drawn, for all intents and purposes, it is not a wound. A dislocated jaw as a result of a backyard fight is an injury, not a wound.
5. When there is aggression and blood is drawn, if you are not the direct object of that aggression, it is an injury. So you are injured in a bomb blast, not wounded. The terrorist who planted the bomb whose splinters drew blood on your body, did not have a personal vendetta against you.

So now you know. The next time you hear someone make the mistake, correct them, but don’t injure his/her pride.

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