In common usage, only a child who has lost both parents due to death is called an orphan. When referring to animals, only the mother's condition is usually relevant (i.e. if the female parent has gone, the offspring is an orphan, regardless of the father's condition).
Various groups use different definitions to identify orphans. One legal definition used in the United States is a minor bereft through "death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from, both parents".
In the common use, an orphan does not have any surviving parent to care for them. However, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), and other groups label any child who has lost one parent as an orphan. In this approach, a maternal orphan is a child whose mother has died, a paternal orphan is a child whose father has died, and a double orphan is a child who has lost both parents. This contrasts with the older use of half-orphan to describe children who had lost only one parent.
Orphans are relatively rare in developed countries, because most children can expect both of their parents to survive their childhood. Much higher numbers of orphans exist in war-torn nations such as Afghanistan.
|Orphans as percentage |
of all children
|Latin America & Caribbean||8,166||7.4%|
|Country||Orphans as % of all Children||AIDS Orphans as % of Orphans||Total Orphans (Total)||Total Orphans (AIDS Related)||Maternal (Total)||Maternal (AIDS Related)||Paternal (Total)||Paternal (AIDS Related)||Double (Total)||Double (AIDS Related)|
|Botswana (1990)||5.9||3.0||34,000||1,000||14,000||< 100||23,000||1,000||2,000||< 100|
|Lesotho (1990)||10.6||2.9||73,000||< 100||31,000||< 100||49,000||< 100||8,000||< 100|
Famous orphans include world leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Andrew Jackson; the Hebrew prophet Moses and the Muslim prophet Muhammad; writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, and Leo Tolstoy; athletes such as Aaron Hernandez or Jacques Villeneuve. The American orphan Henry Darger portrayed the horrible conditions of his orphanage in his art work. Other notable orphans include entertainment greats such as Louis Armstrong, Marilyn Monroe, Babe Ruth, Ray Charles and Frances McDormand, and innumerable fictional characters in literature and comics.
Wars and great epidemics, such as AIDS, have created many orphans. The Second World War, with its massive numbers of deaths and population movements, created large numbers of orphans in many countries—with estimates for Europe ranging from 1,000,000 to 13,000,000. Judt (2006) estimates there were 9,000 orphaned children in Czechoslovakia, 60,000 in the Netherlands 300,000 in Poland and 200,000 in Yugoslavia, plus many more in the Soviet Union, Germany, Italy and elsewhere.
Orphaned characters are extremely common as literary protagonists, especially in children's and fantasy literature. The lack of parents leaves the characters to pursue more interesting and adventurous lives, by freeing them from familial obligations and controls, and depriving them of more prosaic lives. It creates characters that are self-contained and introspective and who strive for affection. Orphans can metaphorically search for self-understanding through attempting to know their roots. Parents can also be allies and sources of aid for children, and removing the parents makes the character's difficulties more severe. Parents, furthermore, can be irrelevant to the theme a writer is trying to develop, and orphaning the character frees the writer from the necessity to depict such an irrelevant relationship; if one parent-child relationship is important, removing the other parent prevents complicating the necessary relationship. All these characteristics make orphans attractive characters for authors.
Orphans are common in fairy tales, such as most variants of Cinderella.
A number of well-known authors have written books featuring orphans. Examples from classic literature include Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist, Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer, L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure, and J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Among more recent authors, A. J. Cronin, Lemony Snicket, A. F. Coniglio, Roald Dahl and J. K. Rowling, as well as some less well-known authors of famous orphans like Little Orphan Annie have used orphans as major characters. One recurring storyline has been the relationship that the orphan can have with an adult from outside their immediate family as seen in Lyle Kessler's play Orphans.
Orphans are especially common as characters in comic books. Almost all the most popular heroes are orphans: Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Robin, The Flash, Captain Marvel, Captain America, and Green Arrow were all orphaned. Orphans are also very common among villains: Bane, Catwoman, and Magneto are examples. Lex Luthor, Deadpool, and Carnage can also be included on this list, though they killed one or both of their parents. Supporting characters befriended by the heroes are also often orphans, including the Newsboy Legion and Rick Jones.
Many religious texts, including the Bible and the Quran, contain the idea that helping and defending orphans is a very important and God-pleasing matter. The religious leaders Moses and Muhammad were orphaned as children. Several scriptural citations describe how orphans should be treated:
An acronym is a word or name formed as an abbreviation from the initial components of a phrase or a word, usually individual letters (as in "NATO" or "laser") and sometimes syllables (as in "Benelux").
There are no universal standards for the multiple names for such abbreviations or for their orthographic styling. In English and most other languages, such abbreviations historically had limited use, but they became much more common in the 20th century. Acronyms are a type of word formation process, and they are viewed as a subtype of blending.Annie (musical)
Annie is a Broadway musical based upon the popular Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie, with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and book by Thomas Meehan. The original Broadway production opened in 1977 and ran for nearly six years, setting a record for the Alvin Theatre (now the Neil Simon Theatre). It spawned numerous productions in many countries, as well as national tours, and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. The musical's songs "Tomorrow" and "It's the Hard Knock Life" are among its most popular musical numbers.Little Orphan Annie
Little Orphan Annie is a daily American comic strip created by Harold Gray and syndicated by the Tribune Media Services. The strip took its name from the 1885 poem "Little Orphant Annie" by James Whitcomb Riley, and made its debut on August 5, 1924, in the New York Daily News.
The plot follows the wide-ranging adventures of Annie, her dog Sandy and her benefactor Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks. Secondary characters include Punjab, the Asp and Mr. Am. The strip attracted adult readers with political commentary that targeted (among other things) organized labor, the New Deal and communism.
Following Gray's death in 1968, several artists drew the strip and, for a time, "classic" strips were reruns. Little Orphan Annie inspired a radio show in 1930, film adaptations by RKO in 1932 and Paramount in 1938 and a Broadway musical Annie in 1977 (which was adapted into a film of the same name three times, one in 1982, one in 1999 and another in 2014). The strip's popularity declined over the years; it was running in only 20 newspapers when it was cancelled on June 13, 2010. The characters now appear occasionally as supporting ones in Dick Tracy.Neuron-derived orphan receptor 1
The neuron-derived orphan receptor 1 (NOR1) also known as NR4A3 (nuclear receptor subfamily 4, group A, member 3) is a protein that in humans is encoded by the NR4A3 gene. NOR1 is a member of the nuclear receptor family of intracellular transcription factors.
NOR1 plays a central regulatory role in cell proliferation, differentiation, metabolism and apoptosisOrphan Black
Orphan Black is a Canadian science fiction thriller television series created by screenwriter Graeme Manson and director John Fawcett, starring Tatiana Maslany as several identical people who are clones. The series focuses on Sarah Manning, a woman who assumes the identity of one of her fellow clones, Elizabeth Childs, after witnessing Childs' suicide. The series raises issues about the moral and ethical implications of human cloning, and its effect on issues of personal identity.The series is produced by Temple Street Productions, in association with BBC America and Bell Media's Space. It premiered on March 30, 2013, on Space in Canada and on BBC America in the United States. On June 16, 2016, the series was renewed for a fifth and final 10-episode season, which premiered on June 10, 2017. An aftershow, After the Black, began airing in the third season on Space and was acquired by BBC America for the fourth season.Orphan drug
An orphan drug is a pharmaceutical agent that has been developed specifically to treat a rare medical condition, the condition itself being referred to as an orphan disease.
The assignment of orphan status to a disease and to any drugs developed to treat it is a matter of public policy in many countries and has resulted in medical breakthroughs that may not have otherwise been achieved due to the economics of drug research and development.In the US and the EU, it is easier to gain marketing approval for an orphan drug, and there may be other financial incentives, such as an extended period of exclusivity, a time during which that company is the only one allowed to market the orphan drug—all intended to encourage the development of those drugs which might otherwise lack a sufficient profit motive and market to attract companies' research budgets and personnel.Orphan receptor
In biochemistry, an orphan receptor is a protein that has a similar structure to other identified receptors but whose endogenous ligand has not yet been identified. If a ligand for an orphan receptor is later discovered, the receptor is referred to as an "adopted orphan". Conversely, the term orphan ligand refers to a biological ligand whose cognate receptor has not yet been identified.Orphan work
An orphan work is a copyright protected work for which rightsholders are positively indeterminate or uncontactable. Sometimes the names of the originators or rightsholders are known, yet it is impossible to contact them because additional details cannot be found. A work can become orphaned through rightsholders being unaware of their holding, or by their demise (e.g. deceased persons or defunct companies) and establishing inheritance has proved impracticable. In other cases, comprehensively diligent research fails to determine any authors, creators or originators for a work. Since 1989, the amount of orphan works has increased dramatically since registration is optional, many works' statuses remain unknown and therefore are in a grey area, therefore cannot be used, since fair use deals with non-orphaned works.Orphanage
Historically, an orphanage was a residential institution, or group home, devoted to the care of orphans and other children who were separated from their biological families. Examples of what would cause a child to be placed in orphanages are when the biological parents were deceased, the biological family was abusive to the child, there was substance abuse or mental illness in the biological home that was detrimental to the child, or the parents had to leave to work elsewhere and were unable or unwilling to take the child. The role of legal responsibility for the support of children whose parent(s) have died or are otherwise unable to provide care differs internationally.
The use of government-run orphanages has been phased out in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and in the European Union member-states during the latter half of the 20th century but continue to operate in many other regions internationally. While the term "orphanage" is no longer typically used in the United States, nearly every US state continues to operate residential group homes for children in need of a safe place to live and in which to be supported in their educational and life-skills pursuits. Homes like the Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania, Mooseheart in Illinois and the Crossnore School and Children's Home in North Carolina continue to provide care and support for children in need. While a place like the Milton Hershey School houses nearly 2,000 children, each child lives in a small group-home environment with "house parents" who often live many years in that home. Children who grow up in these residential homes have higher rates of high school and college graduation than those who spend equivalent numbers of years in the US Foster Care system, wherein only 44 to 66 percent of children graduate from high school.Research from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP) is often cited as demonstrating that residential institutions negatively impact the wellbeing of children. The BEIP selected orphanages in Bucharest, Romania that raised abandoned children in socially and emotionally deprived environments in order to study the changes in development of infants and children after they had been placed with specially trained foster families in the local community. This powerful study demonstrated how the lack of loving attention typically provided to children by their parents or caregivers is pivotal for optimal human development, specifically of the brain; adequate nutrition is not enough. Further research of children who were adopted from institutions in Eastern European countries to the US demonstrated that for every 3.5 months that an infant spent in the institution, they lagged behind their peers in growth by 1 month. Further, a meta-analysis of research on the IQs of children in orphanages found lower IQs among the children in many institutions, but this result was not found in the low-income country setting.Worldwide, residential institutions like orphanages can often be detrimental to the psychological development of affected children. In countries where orphanages are no longer in use, the long-term care of unwarded children by the state has been transitioned to a domestic environment, with an emphasis on replicating a family home. Many of these countries, such as the United States, utilize a system of monetary stipends paid to foster parents to incentivize and subsidize the care of state wards in private homes. A distinction must be made between foster care and adoption, as adoption would remove the child from the care of the state and transfer the legal responsibility for that child's care to the adoptive parent completely and irrevocably, whereas in the case of foster care, the child would remain a ward of the state with the foster parent acting only as caregiver.
Most children who live in orphanages are not orphans; four out of five children in orphanages have at least one living parent and most having some extended family. Developing countries and their governments rely on kinship care to aid in the orphan crisis, because it is cheaper to financially help extended families in taking in an orphaned child then it is to institutionalize them. Additionally, developing nations are lacking in child welfare and their well-being because of lack of resources. Research that is being collected in the developing world shows that these countries focus purely on survival indicators instead of a combination of their survival and other positive indicators like a developed nation would do. This speaks to the way that many developed countries treat an orphan crisis, as the only focus is to obtain a way to insure their survival. In the developed nations orphans can expect to find not only a home but also these countries will try an ensure a secure future as well. Furthermore, orphans in developing nations are seen as a problem that needs to be solved, this also makes them vulnerable to exploitation or neglect. In Pakistan, alternative care for orphans often falls on to extended families and Pakistan society as the government feels puts the burden of caring for orphans on them. Although it is very common for Pakistan citizens to take in orphans because of their culture and religion only orphans whose parents have passed away are taken in. This neglects a population of children who need alternative care either due to abuse or parents who are unable to care for their child because of poverty, mental, or physical issues.A few large international charities continue to fund orphanages, but most are still commonly founded by smaller charities and religious groups. Especially in developing countries, orphanages may prey on vulnerable families at risk of breakdown and actively recruit children to ensure continued funding. Orphanages in developing countries are rarely run by the state. However, not all orphanages that are state-run are less corrupted; the Romanian orphanages, like those in Bucharest, were founded due to the soaring population numbers catalyzed by dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, who banned abortion and birth control and incentivized procreation in order to increase the Romanian workforce.Today’s residential institutions for children, also described as congregate care, include group homes, residential child care communities, children's homes, refuges, rehabilitation centers, night shelters, and youth treatment centers.RAR-related orphan receptor
The RAR-related orphan receptors (RORs) are members of the nuclear receptor family of intracellular transcription factors. There are three forms of ROR, ROR-α, -β, and -γ and each is encoded by a separate gene RORA, RORB, and RORC respectively. The RORs are somewhat unusual in that they appear to bind as monomers to hormone response elements as opposed to the majority of other nuclear receptors which bind as dimers.RAR-related orphan receptor alpha
RAR-related orphan receptor alpha (RORα), also known as NR1F1 (nuclear receptor subfamily 1, group F, member 1) is a nuclear receptor that in humans is encoded by the RORA gene. RORα participates in the transcriptional regulation of some genes involved in circadian rhythm. In mice, RORα is essential for development of cerebellum through direct regulation of genes expressed in Purkinje cells. It also plays an essential role in the development of type 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2) and mutant animals are ILC2 deficient. In addition, although present in normal numbers, the ILC3 and Th17 cells from RORα deficient mice are defective for cytokine production.RAR-related orphan receptor beta
RAR-related orphan receptor beta (ROR-beta), also known as NR1F2 (nuclear receptor subfamily 1, group F, member 2) is a nuclear receptor that in humans is encoded by the RORB gene.RAR-related orphan receptor gamma
RAR-related orphan receptor gamma (RORγ) is a protein that in humans is encoded by the RORC (RAR-related orphan receptor C) gene. RORγ is member of the nuclear receptor family of transcription factors.Rare disease
A rare disease is any disease that affects a small percentage of the population. In some parts of the world, an orphan disease is a rare disease whose rarity means there is a lack of a market large enough to gain support and resources for discovering treatments for it, except by the government granting economically advantageous conditions to creating and selling such treatments. Orphan drugs are ones so created or sold.
Most rare diseases are genetic and thus are present throughout the person's entire life, even if symptoms do not immediately appear. Many rare diseases appear early in life, and about 30% of children with rare diseases will die before reaching their fifth birthday. With only three diagnosed patients in 27 years, ribose-5-phosphate isomerase deficiency is considered the rarest known genetic disease.No single cut-off number has been agreed upon for which a disease is considered rare. A disease may be considered rare in one part of the world, or in a particular group of people, but still be common in another.
The US organisation Global Genes has estimated that more than 300 million people worldwide are living with one of the approximately 7,000 diseases they define as "rare" in the United States.Retinoic acid-inducible orphan G protein-coupled receptor
The Retinoic Acid-Inducible orphan G-protein-coupled receptors (RAIG) are a group of four closely related G protein-coupled receptors whose expression is induced by retinoic acid.The exact function of these proteins has not been determined but they may provide a mechanism by which retinoic acid can influence G protein signal transduction cascades. In addition, RAIG receptors interact with members of the frizzled class of G protein-coupled receptors and appear to activate the Wnt signaling pathway.Rogue planet
A rogue planet (also termed an interstellar planet, nomad planet, free-floating planet, unbound planet, orphan planet, wandering planet, starless planet, or sunless planet) is a planetary-mass object that orbits a galactic center directly. Such objects have been ejected from the planetary system in which they formed or have never been gravitationally bound to any star or brown dwarf. The Milky Way alone may have billions of rogue planets.Some planetary-mass objects may have formed in a similar way to stars, and the International Astronomical Union has proposed that such objects be called sub-brown dwarfs. A possible example is Cha 110913-773444, which might have been ejected and become a rogue planet, or otherwise formed on its own to become a sub-brown dwarf.Astronomers have used the Herschel Space Observatory and the Very Large Telescope to observe a very young free-floating planetary-mass object, OTS 44, and demonstrate that the processes characterizing the canonical star-like mode of formation apply to isolated objects down to a few Jupiter masses. Herschel far-infrared observations have shown that OTS 44 is surrounded by a disk of at least 10 Earth masses and thus could eventually form a mini planetary system. Spectroscopic observations of OTS 44 with the SINFONI spectrograph at the Very Large Telescope have revealed that the disk is actively accreting matter, in a similar way to young stars. In December 2013, a candidate exomoon of a rogue planet was announced.Tatiana Maslany
Tatiana Gabriele Maslany (born September 22, 1985) is a Canadian actress. She is known for portraying multiple characters in the science fiction television series Orphan Black (2013–2017), which aired on Space in Canada and BBC America in the United States. For her work on Orphan Black, Maslany won a Primetime Emmy Award (2016), a TCA Award (2013), two Critics' Choice Awards (2013 and 2014), and five Canadian Screen Awards (2014–18), in addition to receiving a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination. Maslany is the first Canadian actor in a Canadian series to win an Emmy in a key dramatic category.She has also appeared in television series such as Heartland (2008–2010), The Nativity (2010), and Being Erica (2009–2011). In 2013, she won an ACTRA Award for her lead role in the film Picture Day and the Phillip Borsos Award for her performance in the film Cas and Dylan. Her other notable films include Diary of the Dead (2007), Eastern Promises (2007), The Vow (2012), Woman in Gold (2015), and Stronger (2017).Widow
A widow is a woman whose spouse has died and a widower is a man whose spouse has died. The treatment of widows and widowers around the world varies.X-Statix
X-Statix are a team of mutant superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The team was specifically designed to be media superstars. The team, created by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred, first appears in X-Force No. 116 and originally assumed the moniker X-Force, taking the name of the more traditional superhero team, who appear in No. 117 claiming to be "the real X-Force".