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orfen (comparative more orfen, superlative most orfen)

  1. (Britain, dated) Eye dialect spelling of often, representing Britain English.
    • 1876, LADY BARKER, EDITOR, evening hours
      Sometimes they sets theirselves alight, but not orfen, for it aint much o' a fire aunt leaves in.
    • 1887, The English illustrated magazine [ed. by J. W. C. Carr].
      Jack's uncommon fond o' theayters, and singing and acting and such like, and as he can't very orfen get the money to pay for 'arf-price in the gallery he follers about all the people as performs in the streets, sometimes for hours an' hours together.
    • 1903, The Royal Magazine
      He's rarther an ass, but not a bad chap reely, he gives us tips sumtimes but not orfen enuff.

Usage notes[edit]

/ɔːfən/ was formerly a common pronunciation of often in many British dialects – the homophony with orphan is exploited as a pun in The Pirates of Penzance, for example. This pronunciation is now largely obsolete and remains only in occasional use by older Received Pronunciation speakers.[1]