orphan

noun
or·​phan | \ ˈȯr-fən How to pronounce orphan (audio) \

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 How to pronounce orphaning (audio) , 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 How to pronounce orphanhood (audio) \ noun

Examples of orphan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The story follows two orphans looked after by a young governess named Dani (played by Pedretti). Nick Romano, EW.com, "The Haunting of Bly Manor," 28 Aug. 2019 Russia banned Americans from adopting Russian orphans after Chase died. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, "Children keep dying in hot cars: Why is that happening and how can the tragedies be stopped?," 2 Aug. 2019 For 10 years, he's hosted an annual Christmas Day event called One Man Show, a roughly 10,000-person party with a charitable mission to help local orphans. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Shimza On South Africa's DIY Party Scene, Giving Back & 'Eminence' EP: Exclusive," 11 July 2019 In Tigers Are Not Afraid (now available to watch on Shudder), young actress Paola Lara plays an orphan named Estrella who joins a gang of kids in an unnamed Mexican town and attempts to evade the murderous attentions of a drug cartel. Clark Collis, EW.com, "Tigers Are Not Afraid director recommends three modern horror movie classics," 12 Sep. 2019 Family Legacy’s mission is to assist orphans one-on-one. John Fund, National Review, "We Can’t Afford to Forget Africa," 8 Sep. 2019 International orphans are similar to local foster kids in some ways, according to MN Adopt’s Walstad. Jasmine Johnson, Twin Cities, "Minnesota adoptions falling. International adoptions most affected.," 31 Aug. 2019 The bar area is a lonely orphan near the front door, a straight line that points to the restrooms. Michael Mayo, sun-sentinel.com, "Review: Asian trio on Las Olas — Etaru, Red Door and Sushi Shack," 29 Aug. 2019 The camel in Inland is the subject addressed by one of the novel’s two main characters, Lurie, a wayward orphan of apparently Serbian origin living in the Southwest. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Téa Obreht Considers the Camel," 28 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

An adolescent orphaned in a bombing takes possession of a famous painting. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, "Fall movies 2019: Dozens of titles coming soon to theaters," 6 Sep. 2019 Interwoven with Nora’s story is a second, seemingly unrelated narrative belonging to Lurie Mattie, an immigrant orphaned young and turned outlaw. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, "Téa Obreht follows up 'The Tiger's Wife' with 'Inland' a haunted, fantastical Western," 13 Aug. 2019 The couple was estranged, according to neighbors, and left behind two kids A Philadelphia police officer fatally shot his wife and himself Monday morning, orphaning their two children, according to a number of local reports. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, "Philadelphia Cop Kills Wife, Self in Apparent Murder-Suicide: 'Very Sad'," 9 July 2019 Fore said about 30 percent of the cases are children, and UNICEF has identified about 1,000 children who have been orphaned or left unaccompanied while their parents are isolated in Ebola treatment wards. Edith M. Lederer, The Seattle Times, "UN officials: 13 million in Congo need aid in major increase," 25 Mar. 2019 The tribals, already orphaned by Peelandi’s absence, were in for more humiliation. K A Shaji, Quartz India, "Tribals in India’s Kerala are protesting against a Hindu name given to a captured elephant," 30 Aug. 2019 Her 2-month-old son was treated for broken bones, but was orphaned after Jordan and her husband, Andre, were killed. Washington Post, "Families mourn, bury those killed in Ohio, Texas shootings," 10 Aug. 2019 The baby koala was also orphaned after her mother was euthanized. Fox News, "Adorable orphaned baby koala gets arm cast after falling from tree," 9 Aug. 2019 There was the frightening and incongruous grinning and thumbs up over an infant recently orphaned by a mass shooter. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "A Slow News Month for Trump," 23 Aug. 2019

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

1 Oct 2019

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 How to pronounce orphan (audio) \

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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