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[fah-th er-lis] /ˈfɑ ðər lɪs/
not having a living father:
a fatherless boy.
not having a known or legally responsible father.
Origin of fatherless
before 1000; Middle English faderles, Old English fæderlēas. See father, -less Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fatherless
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • My child––what will she do––poor, motherless, fatherless girl––all alone, all alone––.

    The Strollers Frederic S. Isham
  • The other fatherless creatures lay in the little dressing-room.

    The Doctor's Family Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant
  • They spare neither widow nor fatherless, nor have they so much as a bed to lie on.

  • By Angus Rothesay's bed they stood—the widow and the fatherless!

    Olive Dinah Maria Craik, (AKA Dinah Maria Mulock)
  • I brought with me my three fatherless children, so our family numbered twelve.

  • Because I delivered the poor that cried and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.

    General Gordon J. Wardle
  • It was his gift to the fatherless, yet he never would acknowledge it.

    The Home Fredrika Bremer
  • Who will say that the cry of the 'widow and fatherless' is disregarded in His sight!

    Behind the Scenes Elizabeth Keckley
British Dictionary definitions for fatherless


having no father
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fatherless

Old English fæderleas; see father (n.) + -less.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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