Orphan Definition

ôrfən
orphaned, orphans
noun
A child whose father and mother are dead.
Webster's New World
A child who has been deprived of parental care and has not been adopted.
American Heritage
A child who has lost only one parent by death.
Webster's New World
One that lacks support, supervision, or care.
A lack of corporate interest has made the subsidiary an orphan.
American Heritage
A technology or product that has not been developed or marketed, especially on account of being commercially unprofitable.
American Heritage
Synonyms:
forsakenwaiffoundlingorphaned childstrayparentless childragamuffin
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adjective
Deprived of parents.
American Heritage
Being an orphan.
Webster's New World
Of or for orphans.
An orphan home.
Webster's New World
Of a product that is medically valuable but is not produced because it lacks a profitable market, as a drug for a rare disease.
Webster's New World
Lacking support, supervision, or care.
American Heritage
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verb
To cause to become an orphan.
Orphaned by the war.
Webster's New World
To deprive (a child or young animal) of a parent or parents.
American Heritage
To deprive of parents (used almost exclusively in the passive)
What do you do when you come across two orphaned polar bear cubs?
Wiktionary

(computing) To make unavailable, as by unlinking the last remaining pointer to.

When you removed that image tag, you orphaned the resized icon.
Removing categories orphans pages from the main category tree.
Wiktionary

Other Word Forms of Orphan

Noun

Singular:
orphan
Plural:
orphans

Origin of Orphan

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

    From Wiktionary

  • Middle English from Late Latin orphanus from Greek orphanos orphaned orbh- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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