orphan

noun
or·​phan | \ˈȯr-fən \

Definition of orphan 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a child deprived by death of one or usually both parents He became an orphan when his parents died in a car accident.

2 : a young animal that has lost its mother feeding calves that are orphans

3 : one deprived of some protection or advantage orphans of the storm refugee orphans of the war

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

verb
orphaned; orphaning\ˈȯr-​fə-​niŋ, ˈȯrf-​niŋ \

Definition of orphan (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to cause to become an orphan

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Other Words from orphan

Noun

orphan adjective
orphanhood \ˈȯr-​fən-​ˌhu̇d \ noun

Examples of orphan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Once an orphan and homeless, James said remembers how intoxicating it was be feared by flashing your gang name on hats or shirts. Russell Contreras, Fox News, "'Sons of Anarchy' spinoff 'Mayans M.C.' tackles border world," 30 Aug. 2018 Tom and his younger brother, Geoff, were joined in 1939 by two Jewish orphans adopted by their parents as part of the Kindertransport rescue of children endangered by Nazi persecution. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Tom Jago Helped Create Baileys Irish Cream, the World’s Top-Selling Liqueur," 26 Oct. 2018 The animated series from DreamWorks Animation Television and Netflix follows the story of Adora, a young orphan who was raised by a group called the Horde. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, ""She-Ra and the Princesses of Power" Teaser Trailer Shows Adora Transforming Into the Iconic Warrior," 10 Sep. 2018 My wife’s father, Grandpa Don, was a Sicilian orphan of a family from Montemaggiore Belsito, near Palermo. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "On Independence Day, thanking my family for coming to America," 3 July 2018 An orphan’s life at Manzanar at least had the advantage of routine – until the war ended. Rick Hampson, USA TODAY, "Celebrating Independence Day in America's detention camps – during World War II and now," 2 July 2018 Her sewing skills have touched the lives of many around the world, particularly orphans in Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island. Monique O. Madan, miamiherald, "Florida cops deliver dresses made by a 99-year-old woman to orphans in Puerto Rico," 10 June 2018 The Faithists kept a strict vegetarian diet, planted orchards and adopted orphans to raise as the vanguard of their new society. Sam Kestenbaum, New York Times, "A Forgotten Religion Gets a Second Chance in Brooklyn," 7 June 2018 The Tim Tebow Foundation among them — that have helped underprivileged children, sick children, orphans and others. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: Tim Tebow Comfortable And Content In A Life Others Find Fascinating," 8 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Children are at risk of being orphaned if their parent is deported. Dianna M. Náñez, azcentral, "Is one lawsuit a path to justice and reunification for separated migrant families?," 23 June 2018 Beyond the core interest in protecting American citizens from murder, the United States has a fairly strong interest in protecting American citizens from being orphaned. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "There’s nothing “America First” about Trump’s Saudi policy," 21 Nov. 2018 The goats were among six kids separated or orphaned from their mothers during helicopter capture and relocation operations aimed at removing the species altogether from the park. Evan Bush, The Seattle Times, "‘Cute little cotton-ball herd’: Orphaned mountain goat kids released at wildlife park," 13 Nov. 2018 The Beni civil society organization, which has tracked the violence for years, says the rebel attacks have left more than 1,200 children orphaned. Washington Post, "Congo woman opens home to dozens of children orphaned by war," 7 June 2018 When the girls are then orphaned, the separation becomes permanent. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: ‘Frozen’ Hits Broadway With a Little Magic and Some Icy Patches," 22 Mar. 2018 The Capital was founded in Annapolis in 1884 by a former judge of the Anne Arundel County orphans court. Susan Miller, USA TODAY, "Capital Gazette newsroom bloodied but not broken: 'We're putting out a damn paper tomorrow'," 28 June 2018 The Capital was founded in Annapolis in 1884 by William Abbott, a former judge of the Anne Arundel County orphans court. Chris Kaltenbach, baltimoresun.com, "Capital Gazette newspapers in Annapolis trace their origins to 1727," 28 June 2018 Inside the open-air temple, dozens of the gazelles, known as chinkaras, and a long-horned blackbuck antelope ambled around a sandy enclosure, all having been brought there for care after being wounded or orphaned. Shashank Bengali, latimes.com, "This nature-loving sect in India dragged one of the world's biggest movie stars to court — and won," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'orphan.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of orphan

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1814, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for orphan

Noun

Middle English orphan, orphen, borrowed from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French orphayn, borrowed from Late Latin orphanus, borrowed from Greek orphanós "left without parents, child without parents," derivative (with -anos, noun and adjective suffix) of *orphos "orphan," going back to Indo-European *h3órbhos "person or property turned over (as after a death)," whence also Armenian orb "orphan," Latin orbus "deprived by death of a relative, bereaved, orphan," Old Church Slavic rabŭ "slave," also (from post-Indo-European *orbhós "one having the inheritance, heir," whence *orbhii̯o- "of the heir") Old Irish orpe, orbae "patrimony, heritage," Old English ierfe "inheritance," Old Saxon erƀi, Old High German erbi, Gothic arbi, and (from Germanic *arbijōn- "heir") Old English ierfa "heir," Old High German erbo, Gothic arbja, runic Norse arbija; Indo-European *h3órbhos perhaps derivative of a verbal base *h3erbh- "turn, be turned over, undergo transfer" — more at orb entry 1

Verb

derivative of orphan entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near orphan

oro y plata

Orozco

orp

orphan

orphan's court

orphanage

orphancy

Statistics for orphan

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for orphan

The first known use of orphan was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for orphan

orphan

noun

English Language Learners Definition of orphan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a child whose parents are dead

orphan

verb

English Language Learners Definition of orphan (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (a child) to become an orphan

orphan

noun
or·​phan | \ˈȯr-fən \

Kids Definition of orphan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a child whose parents are dead

orphan

verb
orphaned; orphaning

Kids Definition of orphan (Entry 2 of 2)

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

orphan

noun
or·​phan

Legal Definition of orphan 

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on orphan

Spanish Central: Translation of orphan

Nglish: Translation of orphan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of orphan for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about orphan

Comments on orphan

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