• synonyms


[fah-th er-lis]
  1. not having a living father: a fatherless boy.
  2. not having a known or legally responsible father.
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Origin of fatherless

before 1000; Middle English faderles, Old English fæderlēas. See father, -less
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fatherless

Contemporary Examples of fatherless

Historical Examples of fatherless

  • 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!


    Dinah Maria Craik, (AKA Dinah Maria Mulock)

  • I brought with me my three fatherless children, so our family numbered twelve.

British Dictionary definitions for fatherless


  1. having no father
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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

Word Origin and History for fatherless


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper