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 Adora and Catra were both orphans raised to be foot soldiers of the Horde, a menacing military force intent on conquering the planet Etheria. Christian Holub, EW.com, "She-Ra showrunner and stars break down Adora and Catra's connection," 19 May 2020 But the company asked the FDA last month to rescind the designation amid criticism that orphan status would no longer apply for a drug combating a pandemic. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Lawmaker asks HHS to ensure Gilead’s remdesivir is affordable if U.S. taxpayers funded R&D," 1 May 2020 The organization began supporting orphans during the Civil War. cleveland, "Avon Lake neighborhood turns out for no-contact Easter scavenger hunt," 14 Apr. 2020 In 1975, more than 130 people, most of them children, were killed when a US Air Force transport plane evacuating Vietnamese orphans crash-landed shortly after takeoff from Saigon. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 4 Apr. 2020 In her melancholy debut, orphan Mikage Sakurai searches for meaning after the devastating loss of her beloved grandmother. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, "Best Books to Read if You're Dreaming of Japan," 30 Mar. 2020 In our data, this fragment appears to be an orphan segment of an arm that wraps around less than a quarter of the Milky Way. Mark J. Reid, Scientific American, "A New Map of the Milky Way," 17 Mar. 2020 Only a little over a year old, orphan from egg crack. Rumaan Alam, The New Republic, "What’s So Funny About the End of the World?," 13 Mar. 2020 He and Repp were born in Poland and made orphans by the Nazis. Robert Wilonsky, Dallas News, "Dallas has lost a vital human story of the Holocaust with the death of South Dallas shopkeeper Jack Repp," 14 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Instead of grizzled frontiersmen, the story turns on two siblings, Lucy and Sam, orphaned during the Gold Rush. Mark Athitakis, USA TODAY, "Review: C Pam Zhang's ambitious novel turns the Western on its head with Chinese myth," 6 Apr. 2020 With no formal crisis plan, Mayor Matthew Clarkson turned to volunteers collect clothing, food, and monetary donations; to pitch a makeshift hospital; and to build a home for 191 children temporarily or permanently orphaned by the epidemic. Katherine A. Foss, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Epidemics of the Past Forced Americans to Promote Health—and Ended Up Improving Life in This Country," 2 Apr. 2020 Mackenzie Davis stars as the young governess, Kate, who leaves behind her life in Seattle out of a desire to help a wealthy young girl, orphaned and abandoned by her last teacher. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, "Tiffany Haddish’s ‘Like a Boss’ and ‘The Turning’ top new releases to watch at home," 7 Apr. 2020 Since 2009, Linda has claimed 24 abandoned or orphaned babies and provided financial and emotional support to families experiencing infant loss as the leader of He Knows Your Name Ministry. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Born close to heaven: The short, beautiful life of Baby Abigail," 26 Mar. 2020 The hospital is currently providing care to about 80 sick and disabled children, all of whom have been orphaned or abandoned. Karla Ward, Washington Post, "UK grad runs hospital for orphans in Africa," 25 Dec. 2019 The children orphaned by opioids are another symptom. Phil Davis, Washington Post, "With dozens of kids orphaned by the opioid crisis, this Md. county has a new outlook on trauma services," 10 Dec. 2019 Walker, now orphaned, moved into her sister and abusive brother-in-law's home in Mississippi. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The Incredible True Story of Madam C.J. Walker, the Woman Celebrated in Netflix's 'Self-Made'," 20 Mar. 2020 The new series, created by original writers Christopher Keyser and Amy Lippman, alters the script – in which five kids were orphaned – and instead makes its quintet of whippersnappers fend for themselves after their parents are deported to Mexico. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Review: A deportation-focused ‘Party of Five’ remake is timely but shallow," 8 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for orphan

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for orphan

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Orphan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orphan. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for orphan

orphan

noun
How to pronounce orphan (audio)

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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