- 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.
- widow(def 3b).
- 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.
Origin of orphan
Examples from the Web for orphan
Scribbling notes in the classroom next door is Justine, a shy 17-year-old orphan who is the only female in her class.Victims No More: Congo’s Badass Women Mechanics
June 6, 2014
Maslany is so deeply ingrained in the DNA of Orphan Black that without her incredible performances, there would be no show.
The clone saga Orphan Black is pulpy, adrenaline-fueled television at its finest.
Sophie Hannah, the author of the new novel The Orphan Choir, has always preferred the sketchy storyteller.The Most Unreliable Narrators, From Agatha Christie to Iris Murdoch
April 2, 2014
An orphan, Sofiya had dropped out of high school to support herself.How An Israeli Stranger Helped An Ethiopian Girl Escape Prostitution
February 9, 2014
She had ceased to think about the lad while she was giving this explanation of an orphan to her son.Rico and Wiseli
At his birth he was an orphan, his father having died a few weeks previously.Ridgeway
It is the child of one dear, most dear to me; an orphan; I know not with whom else to place it.Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete
She was an orphan and unhappy, and on this day of triumph she felt the need of a family.My Double Life
Do you know of any orphan with three or four hundred pound?'Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit
- 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
Word Origin and History for orphan
c.1300, from Late Latin orphanus "parentless child" (source of Old French orfeno, Italian orfano), from Greek orphanos "orphaned, without parents, fatherless," literally "deprived," from orphos "bereft," from PIE *orbho- "bereft of father," also "deprived of free status," from root *orbh- "to change allegiance, to pass from one status to another" (cf. Hittite harb- "change allegiance," Latin orbus "bereft," Sanskrit arbhah "weak, child," Armenian orb "orphan," Old Irish orbe "heir," Old Church Slavonic rabu "slave," rabota "servitude" (cf. robot), Gothic arbja, German erbe, Old English ierfa "heir," Old High German arabeit, German Arbeit "work," Old Frisian arbed, Old English earfoð "hardship, suffering, trouble"). As an adjective from late 15c.
1814, from orphan (n.). Related: Orphaned; orphaning.