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From Middle English faderles, federles, from Old English fæderlēas, from Proto-Germanic *fadērlausaz, equivalent to father +‎ -less. Cognate with German vaterlos.


fatherless (not comparable)

  1. Without a (living) father.
    • 2012 June 17, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “Homer’s Triple Bypass” (season 4, episode 11; originally aired 12/17/1992)”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      “Homer’s Triple Bypass” has the potential to be the most depressing episode in the history of The Simpsons, if not television as whole. It is, after all, about a 36-year-old husband and father staring down death and the prospect of leaving his wife a young widow and his small children fatherless.
  2. (figuratively) Without a known author or inventor.


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