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

In the Bible, this king eventually gets outsmarted by a Jewish orphan named Esther, her cousin Mordecai and a group of shrewd resisters. Rachel Held Evans, Washington Post, "The Bible is literature for the resistance," 12 July 2018 In a hut up the hill, a 12-year-old orphan lay on the dirt floor, his mind racked by memories of his parents. Shashank Bengali, latimes.com, "Worldwide, 1 in 110 people is displaced from home. Here's what life is like for some of them," 19 June 2018 Ley got started in the antiquing business as a teenage orphan combing the streets of Louisville during its first urban renewal phase. Jeffrey Lee Puckett, The Courier-Journal, "Die a true Louisvillian by completing this Derby City bucket list," 19 June 2018 The River Pops Orchestra and actors from the area presents the story of Annie, an orphan from New York City who is taken in by billionaire Oliver Warbucks. Louisville Courier Journal, The Courier-Journal, "Concerts this week in Louisville: Shania Twain, Smashing Pumpkins & more," 12 July 2018 The most important thing is that these children do not end up orphans. Dianna M. Náñez, azcentral, "Avenatti to Trump: Stay off the golf course, start reuniting migrant children and parents," 6 July 2018 Caring for the baby gorilla The most immediate need was to care for Zahra, who had become an orphan. Lainey Seyler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Keepers at Milwaukee County Zoo worked 24/7 to care for baby gorilla after its parents died," 29 June 2018 The film traces the inquiry to the now-closed doors of Louise Wise Services, formerly a prominent adoption agency specializing in finding families for Jewish orphans. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "'Three Identical Strangers' is a riveting account of identical triplets separated at birth," 28 June 2018 Proceeds will be used to buy school uniforms for orphans living in Bura. Julia Preszler, BostonGlobe.com, "Dancing for memory, a clothing drive, and a new restaurant," 1 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 But Nelson also had a profound effect off the field as founder and member of the board of directors for Open Arms Home for Children in South Africa, an organization that gave housing to children either orphaned or from unstable family situations. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Davey Nelson, analyst for Brewers television crew and team alumni director, dies at 73," 23 Apr. 2018 Humane Indiana’s wildlife rehabilitation center in Valparaiso, rescued 1,700 injured or orphaned wildlife in 2017, and the humane education program reached 4,172 children. Sue Ellen Ross, Post-Tribune, "Critter Camp gives Northwest Indiana kids a hands-on approach to nature," 7 July 2018 The festival is a fundraiser for the Corazón de Vida Foundation, a nonprofit that supports orphaned or abandoned children at 10 orphanages throughout Northern Baja. Michele Parente, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Thomas Keller and a galaxy of mega-star chefs to cook in San Diego, Baja," 29 June 2018 Arise Africa works closely with children who are orphaned and who live with distant relatives or with elder siblings who are not much older than them. Charlene Santiago, star-telegram, "'We help them have a life that God desires for all man kind'," 26 June 2018 Yesterday, former Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director John Sandweg said that the current policies could lead to thousands of children being permanently separated from their families—children orphaned by the U.S. government. Diana Budds, Curbed, "This is the Texas tent camp meant as shelter for migrant children," 20 June 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

17 Sep 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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