Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A child whose parents are dead.
  • noun A child who has been deprived of parental care and has not been adopted.
  • noun A young animal that has been prematurely separated from its parents or its mother.
  • noun One that lacks support, supervision, or care.
  • noun A technology or product that has not been developed or marketed, especially on account of being commercially unprofitable.
  • noun Printing A very short line of type at the bottom of a paragraph, column, or page.
  • adjective Deprived of parents.
  • adjective Intended for orphans.
  • adjective Lacking support, supervision, or care.
  • adjective Being a technology or product that is an orphan.
  • transitive verb To deprive (a child or young animal) of a parent or parents.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Bereft of parents; fatherless, motherless, or without either father or mother; bereaved: said of a child or a young and dependent person.
  • Not under control or protection analogous to that of a parent; unprotected; unassisted.
  • Of or belonging to a child bereft of either parent or of both parents.
  • noun A child bereaved of one parent or of both parents, generally the latter.
  • To reduce to the state of being an orphan; bereave of parents.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A child bereaved of both father and mother; sometimes, also, a child who has but one parent living.
  • noun (Law) a court in some of the States of the Union, having jurisdiction over the estates and persons of orphans or other wards.
  • adjective Bereaved of parents, or (sometimes) of one parent.
  • transitive verb To cause to become an orphan; to deprive of parents.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A person, especially a minor, both or (rarely) one of whose parents have died.
  • noun A young animal with no mother.
  • noun figuratively Anything that is unsupported, as by its source, provider or caretaker, by reason of the supporter's demise or decision to abandon.
  • noun typography A single line of type, beginning a paragraph, at the bottom of a column or page.
  • noun computing Any unreferenced object.
  • adjective Deprived of parents (also orphaned).
  • adjective by extension, figuratively Remaining after the removal of some form of support.
  • verb transitive To deprive of parents (used almost exclusively in the passive)
  • verb transitive (computing) To make unavailable, as by unlinking the last remaining pointer to.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun someone or something who lacks support or care or supervision
  • noun a young animal without a mother
  • noun the first line of a paragraph that is set as the last line of a page or column
  • noun a child who has lost both parents
  • verb deprive of parents

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Late Latin orphanus, from Greek orphanos, orphaned; see orbh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin orphanus, from Ancient Greek ὀρφανός (orphanos, "without parents, fatherless"), from Proto-Indo-European *Hórbʰo-. Cognate with Sanskrit अर्भ (árbha), Latin orbus ("orphaned"), Old High German erbi, arbi (German Erbe ("heir")), Old English ierfa ("heir"). More at erf.

Examples

  • She clenched her teeth and grimaced as if pronouncing the word orphan filled her mouth with castor oil.

    Brooke

  • She clenched her teeth and grimaced as if pronouncing the word orphan filled her mouth with castor oil.

    Brooke

  • It matters because the term orphan carries enormous emotional weight.

    Denver Post: News: Breaking: Local

  • It matters because the term orphan carries enormous emotional weight.

    Denver Post: News: Breaking: Local

  • It matters because the term orphan carries enormous emotional weight.

    Denver Post: News: Breaking: Local

  • He was so sweet, but I was afraid that the moment he heard the word orphan, he would back away and pretend he never knew me.

    Butterfly

  • He was so sweet, but I was afraid that the moment he heard the word orphan, he would back away and pretend he never knew me.

    Butterfly

  • That was how Angela had first met Myles’s mother, three weeks after discovering the meaning of the word orphan herself.

    The Good House

  • The budgeteers claim $630 million in cuts from what are called "orphan earmarks," or construction that never started, and $2 billion more for transportation projects, some of which were likely to be canceled.

    Spending Cut Hokum

  • "My Year of Flops" covers some 50 underappreciated pictures; every troubled orphan is assessed and deemed a Failure, a Fiasco or a Secret Success.

    Book Review Roundup: Movie Flops, Reality TV And The Constitution

Comments

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  • Not to be mistaken for 'often'.

    August 20, 2008

  • "To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."

    -Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

    July 29, 2009

  • saw the movie orphan and thats where i saw it

    October 31, 2010