Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

orphan

play
noun or·phan \ˈȯr-fən\

Simple Definition of orphan

  • : a child whose parents are dead

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of orphan

  1. 1 :  a child deprived by death of one or usually both parents

  2. 2 :  a young animal that has lost its mother

  3. 3 :  one deprived of some protection or advantage <orphans of the storm>

  4. 4 :  a first line (as of a paragraph) separated from its related text and appearing at the bottom of a printed page or column

orphan adjective
orphanhood play \-ˌhu̇d\ noun

Origin of orphan

Middle English, from Late Latin orphanus, from Greek orphanos; akin to Old High German erbi inheritance, Latin orbus orphaned


First Known Use: 15th century


2

orphan

verb, or·phan

Simple Definition of orphan

  • : to cause (a child) to become an orphan

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of orphan

orphanedorphaning play \ˈȯr-fə-niŋ, ˈȯrf-niŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to cause to become an orphan

1814

First Known Use of orphan

1814


ORPHAN Defined for Kids

1

orphan

play
noun or·phan \ˈȯr-fən\

Definition of orphan for Students

  1. :  a child whose parents are dead




2

orphan

play
verb or·phan

Definition of orphan for Students

orphanedorphaning

  1. :  to cause to have no parents :  cause to become an orphan <She was orphaned as a baby.>




Law Dictionary

orphan

noun or·phan

Legal Definition of orphan

  1. :  a child deprived by death of one or usually both parents; broadly :  a child without a parent or guardian





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up orphan? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to manage or play awkwardly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

perplex reduce soothe disapprove
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ