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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. 2018.
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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
  • She knew only that Snyder was divorced—a child, a broken home.

    The Salamander Owen Johnson
  • The broken home no longer feels the same first poignancy of grief.

  • In a moment the four of us stood clinging to one another, amid the ruins of our broken home.

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

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