orphan: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (ôr'fun), [key]
— n.
  1. a child who has lost both parents through death, or, less commonly, one parent.
  2. a young animal that has been deserted by or has lost its mother.
  3. a person or thing that is without protective affiliation, sponsorship, etc.: The committee is an orphan of the previous administration.
    1. (esp. in word processing) the first line of a paragraph when it appears alone at the bottom of a page.
    2. widow (def. 3b).
  1. bereft of parents.
  2. of or for orphans: an orphan home.
  3. not authorized, supported, or funded; not part of a system; isolated; abandoned: an orphan research project.
  4. lacking a commercial sponsor, an employer, etc.: orphan workers.
  1. to deprive of parents or a parent through death: He was orphaned at the age of four.
  2. to deprive of commercial sponsorship, an employer, etc.: The recession has orphaned many experienced workers.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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