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broken home

a family in which one parent is absent, usually due to divorce or desertion:
children from broken homes.
Origin of broken home
First recorded in 1840-50
Word story
The term broken home entered English in the mid-1800s to cover the absence of one parent for any unfortunate reason, including prolonged illness, incarceration, or extreme poverty. Use of the term rose during the first half of the 20th century, peaking in the 1950s, but began to decline by the 1970s. As the stigma surrounding divorce (and even single parenthood by choice) decreased, less negative terms emerged. For example, it is preferable to use single-parent family or single-parent household, because these terms lack the built-in negative associations of broken home. See single-parent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for broken home
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The broken home, the broken hearts and here now, his dying boy.

    A Boy Knight Martin J. (Martin Jerome) Scott
  • Now there was nobody but the plain-faced grim-mannered Eliza, who had become the one general-servant of the broken home.

    Mrs. Thompson William Babington Maxwell
  • It would be a terrible crime to unite a husband and wife and fix up a broken home!

    Bought and Paid For Arthur Hornblow
  • It seemed that there was but one person to stand between the children and a broken home, and that person was himself.

  • For a few moments he could hardly command himself as he contemplated this tragic end of the broken home.

  • One woman was found in the open yard by her broken home repeating the general confession of the church.

    Catastrophe and Social Change Samuel Henry Prince

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