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

Most firearms used in crimes are orphans of a system that seems geared to forget them. Azam Ahmed, New York Times, "One Handgun, 9 Murders: How American Firearms Cause Carnage Abroad," 25 Aug. 2019 Successful economies are like successful wars: Everyone wants ownership, much as defeats and recessions are orphans. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "The Economy, Father of Us All," 23 July 2019 Children living in Haitian orphanages often aren’t actually orphans. Tyler Kraft, Indianapolis Star, "Indians pitching coach returns to baseball following 18 years in a traveling ministry," 28 June 2019 Lola’s colleagues believe her to be an orphan, deliberately single and solely focused on work. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘The Ground Beneath My Feet’ tracks a woman’s tightly wound world falling apart," 31 July 2019 Tonoyan, who spent 18 months working on the project with some 30 families, said his grandparents met as orphans in Alexandropol, or modern Gyumri in northwestern Armenia. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "St. Paul church at heart of exhibit that remembers Armenian Genocide in photos and text," 25 July 2019 The story follows a young girl named Lyra Belacqua (played by Logan’s Dafne Keen) who grows up as an orphan in Oxford. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "A war is brewing in the new trailer for HBO’s fantasy series His Dark Materials," 19 July 2019 Today, there are more than 20,000 Ebola orphans in West Africa. David Mckenzie, CNN, "Fear and failure: How Ebola sparked a global health revolution," 26 May 2018 One day Zarifa and several Afghan war orphans were invited to meet King Abdullah, who was in Kabul on an official visit. Richard Mcgill Murphy, Town & Country, "Desert Prep," 17 Dec. 2012

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The zoo houses Arctic and sub-Arctic animals including polar bears, Amur tigers, wolves and lynx, and cares for orphaned and injured wildlife. Anchorage Daily News, "Photos: Behind the scenes at the Alaska Zoo," 17 Aug. 2019 Our San Diego Wildlife Center rehabilitates and releases sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. Denise Davidson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Encinitas nonprofit trying to meet the ‘needs of the community, human and animal’," 26 Apr. 2019 The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center at 18740 Highland Valley Road provides care for more than 800 native wild animals annually who are orphaned, injured or otherwise imperiled. Ramona Sentinel, "Wildlife center seeing record number of patients," 18 July 2019 Onlookers had feared the cub was possibly orphaned after its mother wasn’t spotted with it. USA TODAY, "Saving whales, Manson murder house: News from around our 50 states," 17 July 2019 Born on the South Side of Chicago, Mr. Ewing was orphaned as a child and raised by relatives. Antonia Noori Farzan, BostonGlobe.com, "Russ Ewing, 95; Chicago TV reporter convinced more than 115 suspects to surrender," 29 June 2019 Josephine was orphaned at age 6 and lived with maternal aunts in West Boylston MA,Cohoes NY and New Haven CT. courant.com, "Josephine E. Rovaldi," 10 July 2019 The four currently at the zoo were orphaned when their mothers were killed by boats. Scott Wartman, Cincinnati.com, "It takes a lot of green to buy greens for manatees. Here's how the Cincinnati Zoo spends your money," 24 June 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

3 Sep 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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