What does orphan mean?

Definitions for orphan
ˈɔr fənor·phan

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word orphan.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. orphannoun

    a child who has lost both parents

  2. orphannoun

    someone or something who lacks support or care or supervision

  3. orphannoun

    the first line of a paragraph that is set as the last line of a page or column

  4. orphanverb

    a young animal without a mother

  5. orphanverb

    deprive of parents


  1. orphannoun

    A person, especially a minor, both or (rarely) one of whose parents have died.

  2. orphannoun

    A young animal with no mother.

  3. orphannoun

    Anything that is unsupported, as by its source, provider or caretaker, by reason of the supporter's demise or decision to abandon.

  4. orphannoun

    A single line of type, beginning a paragraph, at the bottom of a column or page.

  5. orphannoun

    Any unreferenced abstract object.

  6. orphanverb

    To deprive of parents (used almost exclusively in the passive)

    What do you do when you come across two orphaned polar bear cubs?

  7. orphanverb

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

  8. orphanadjective

    Deprived of parents (also orphaned).

    She is an orphan child.

  9. orphanadjective

    Remaining after the removal of some form of support.

    With its government funding curtailed, the gun registry became an orphan program.

  10. Etymology: From orphanus, from ὀρφανός, from Hórbʰo-. Cognate with Sanskrit अर्भ, Latin orbus, Old High German erbi, arbi (German Erbe), ierfa. More at erf.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Orphanadjective

    Bereft of parents.

    Etymology: orphelin, Fr.

    This king left orphan both of father and mother, found his estate, when he came to age, so disjointed even in the noblest and strongest limbs of government, that the name of a king was grown odious. Philip Sidney, b. ii.

  2. ORPHANnoun

    A child who has lost father or mother, or both.

    Etymology: ὀϱϕανὸς; orphelin, Fr.

    Poor orphan in the wide world scattered,
    As budding branch rent from the native tree,
    And thrown forth until it be withered:
    Such is the state of man. Fairy Queen, b. ii.

    Who can be bound by any solemn vow
    To reave the orphan of his patrimony, To wring the widow from her custom’d right,
    And have no other reason for his wrong,
    But that he was bound by a solemn oath? William Shakespeare.

    Sad widows, by thee rifled, weep in vain,
    And ruin’d orphans of thy rapes complain. George Sandys.

    The sea with spoils his angry bullets strow,
    Widows and orphans making as they go. Edmund Waller.

    Pity, with a parent’s mind,
    This helpless orphan whom thou leav’st behind. Dryden.


  1. Orphan

    An orphan is a child permanently bereaved of or abandoned by his or her parents. In common usage, only a child who has lost both parents is called an orphan. When referring to animals, only the mother's condition is usually relevant. If she has gone, the offspring is an orphan, regardless of the father's condition. Adults can also be referred to as orphans, or adult orphans. However, survivors who reached adulthood before their parents died are normally not called orphans. It is a term generally reserved for children whose parents have died while they are too young to support themselves.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Orphan

    or′fan, n. a child bereft of father or mother, or of both.—adj. bereft of parents.—v.t. to bereave of parents.—ns. Or′phanage, the state of being an orphan: a house for orphans; Or′phan-asy′lum; Or′phanhood, Or′phanism; Orphanot′rophy, the supporting of orphans. [Gr. orphanos, akin to L. orbus, bereaved.]

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. orphan

    [Unix] A process whose parent has died; one inherited by init(1). Compare zombie.

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of orphan in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of orphan in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of orphan in a Sentence

  1. Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

    An orphan's curse would drag to HellA spirit from on highBut oh More horrible than thatIs the curse in a dead man's eye.

  2. Wayne Dyer:

    I grew up in the east side of Detroit in an area where there was very little, except for a lot of scarcity, poverty and hunger, but I never woke up saying, 'I'm an orphan again today, isn't this terrible? Poor me,' (...) there were a couple of very affluent neighborhoods nearby, but I never thought for one second that those people had more than I had. It just seemed that they got what they were entitled to, and if I really wanted those things, then I would have them, too.

  3. Kedar Joshi:

    History is an orphan. It can speak, but cannot hear. It can give, but cannot take. Its wounds and tragedies can be read and known, but cannot be avoided or cured.

  4. John F. Kennedy, "A Thousand Days," by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr [1965]., p289. Comment made by JFK in the aftermath of the fai:

    Victory has a thousand fathers; defeat is an orphan.

  5. Clifford Villanueva Villalon:

    Four orphans outside a church received a dime, a quarter coin, a half-dollar coin and a dollar coin. The oldest orphan gets the one dollar-coin while the youngest gets the dime. How do you measure the value of life?

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    living by preying on other animals especially by catching living prey
    • A. indiscernible
    • B. soft-witted
    • C. aculeate
    • D. ravening

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