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Thread: orphanage

  1. Member
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    #1

    orphanage

    I have come across the word "orphanage" only in some old books and films, or when their plot is set in earlier periods. Is this word still used today for the institutions where children with no parents or whose parents are unable or unwilling to take care of them live or we should always use the term "children's home" instead ?
    I'm not sure if there are other terms with the same meaning.
    Can we use the term "care home" to refer to this kind of institutions for children, or is it used only to describe a place where old people are looked after?

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: orphanage

    These days, you're more likely to hear/see "children's home" but I imagine "orphanage" is still used in some contexts. In BrE, a "care home" is used almost exclusively for a facility for the elderly.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: orphanage

    Thanks for the answer.

    Is the word "orphanage" just old-fashioned, or is it also considered a bit "offensive," not so politically correct? I understand that "children's home" is also the more precise term since not all children who live there are orphans, i.e. many of them have parents.

    I looked up for synonyms for the "children's home" in several dictionaries and in the OALD a "care home" is defined as "a place where people live and are cared for when they cannot live at home or look after themselves" and one of the given examples is "
    children brought up in care homes." That's why I asked if it can be used for kids as well.

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    #4

    Re: orphanage

    In most well-developed countries, such children are brought up by approved foster parents.

    Orphanages no doubt flourish and are necessary in some countries which are - shall we say - less sensitive about the needs of parentless children.

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    #5

    Re: orphanage

    Quote Originally Posted by Meja View Post
    Is the word "orphanage" just old-fashioned, or is it also considered a bit "offensive," not so politically correct? I understand that "children's home" is also the more precise term since not all children who live there are orphans, i.e. many of them have parents.
    It's old fashioned in the United States because the large institutions that were called "orphanages" were all shut down by the 1970s or so. Smaller institutions that care for children without functional parents are called "group homes".

    We still may use the term "orphanage" to describe larger places housing abandoned or parentless children in other countries. It isn't politically incorrect or pejorative in American English.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: orphanage

    We certainly use "orphanage" to discuss housing for orphans in other countries. Here in the US, we have group homes or foster homes. We also use the word "orphan" to refer to a child without biological parents.

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