[ awr-fuh n ]
/ ˈɔr fən /



verb (used with object)

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.

Nearby words

  1. orotund,
  2. oroya fever,
  3. orozco,
  4. orozco, josé clemente,
  5. orpen,
  6. orphan drug,
  7. orphan virus,
  8. orphanage,
  9. orphans' court,
  10. orpharion

Origin of orphan

1425–75; late Middle English (noun) < Late Latin orphanus destitute, without parents < Greek orphanós bereaved; akin to Latin orbus bereaved

Related formsor·phan·hood, nounhalf-or·phan, nounun·or·phaned, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for orphanhood

British Dictionary definitions for orphanhood


/ (ˈɔːfən) /


  1. a child, one or (more commonly) both of whose parents are dead
  2. (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 for orphan

C15: from Late Latin orphanus, from Greek orphanos; compare Latin orbus bereaved

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 orphanhood
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper