a child who has lost both parents through death, or, less commonly, one parent.
a young animal that has been deserted by or has lost its mother.
a person or thing that is without protective affiliation, sponsorship, etc.: The committee is an orphan of the previous administration.
(especially in word processing) the first line of a paragraph when it appears alone at the bottom of a page.
bereft of parents.
of or for orphans: an orphan home.
not authorized, supported, or funded; not part of a system; isolated; abandoned: an orphan research project.
lacking a commercial sponsor, an employer, etc.: orphan workers.
to deprive of parents or a parent through death: He was orphaned at the age of four.
Informal. to deprive of commercial sponsorship, an employer, etc.: The recession has orphaned many experienced workers.
- or·phan·hood, noun
- half-orphan, noun
- un·or·phaned, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use orphan in a sentence
Because they have not gone through the same extensive breeding as corn, soy, and wheat, the orphans have more untapped potential.New Veggies for a Warming Planet - Issue 92: Frontiers | Viviane Callier | November 4, 2020 | Nautilus
The recent discoveries suggest that focusing on this handful of genes could accelerate the improvement of orphan crops, or even enable the de novo domestication of wild plants with crop potential.New Veggies for a Warming Planet - Issue 92: Frontiers | Viviane Callier | November 4, 2020 | Nautilus
Like the Romanian orphans, these kids had lower cortisol levels than nonadopted children who had no behavioral problems.Puberty can repair the brain’s stress responses after hardship early in life | Esther Landhuis | August 28, 2020 | Science News
Each held a sample of saliva from one of the 2- and 3-year-old orphans.
This confirmed Gunnar’s previous research on Romanian orphans and international adoptees living in the United States.
He gave us a little orphan girl in a red wig belting “Tomorrow.”Out of the Birdcage: How Mike Nichols Made Gay Culture Mainstream | Kevin Fallon | November 20, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
She described how “in certain circles [it] is the moral equivalent of eating a baby orphan.”
Scribbling notes in the classroom next door is Justine, a shy 17-year-old orphan who is the only female in her class.
Metronomic therapy is a quintessential financial orphan, Vikas Sukhatme says.
The financial orphan problem points to a deeper issue with the way cancer drugs are developed.
You love her, your beautiful Finnish orphan brought up in France and romantically met in London, with the adorable name?The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol | William J. Locke
She wore no denim uniform, such as Amy had mentioned on a previous occasion as being the mark of the usual “orphan.”The Campfire Girls of Roselawn | Margaret Penrose
It was the home that had sheltered her orphan childhood; she had never slept a night from under its moss-grown roof.The World Before Them | Susanna Moodie
George Gordon: Scotch birth, so far as can learn; left an orphan; lived mostly in London.Elster's Folly | Mrs. Henry Wood
You shall not be the loser, Mrs. Martin, by the attention you may pay to this poor orphan girl.The World Before Them | Susanna Moodie
British Dictionary definitions for orphan
a child, one or (more commonly) both of whose parents are dead
(as modifier): an orphan child
printing the first line of a paragraph separated from the rest of the paragraph by occurring at the foot of a page
(tr) to deprive of one or both parents
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