1

orphan

play
noun or·phan \ ˈȯr-fən \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of orphan

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

adjective

orphanhood

play \ˈȯr-fən-ˌhu̇d\ noun

Recent Examples of orphan from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of orphan

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 1orb


2

orphan

verb

Definition of orphan

orphaned; orphaning play \ˈȯr-fə-niŋ, ˈȯrf-niŋ\
transitive verb
:to cause to become an orphan

Recent Examples of orphan from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of orphan

derivative of 1orphan


ORPHAN Defined for English Language Learners

orphan

play
noun

Definition of orphan for English Language Learners

  • : a child whose parents are dead


orphan

verb

Definition of orphan for English Language Learners

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


ORPHAN Defined for Kids

1

orphan

play
noun or·phan \ ˈȯr-fən \

Definition of orphan for Students

:a child whose parents are dead

2

orphan

verb

Definition of orphan for Students

orphaned; orphaning
: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

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


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