Is there a word for parents who have lost their children?

Obviously a child who has lost both parents is an orphan and has been orphaned.

I am struggling to find a word for parents who have lost their children, though.


2 Answers 2


A parent whose child has died is a vilomah

… I considered that Sanskrit might locate another. And I found "vilomah."
Vilomah means "against a natural order."

As in, the grey-haired should not bury those with black hair. As in our children should not precede us in death. If they do, we are vilomahed.

Source: https://today.duke.edu/2009/05/holloway_oped.html

  • 1
    Thanks for the information. I like the fact that 'someone' has a word, albeit not in English. I am surprised that the word has not morphed into other languages.
    – GoodJuJu
    Jan 30, 2019 at 16:10
  • In Sanskrit “viloma” simply means “inverted” or “contrary to the natural/usual order” (as this answer says) — that is, as it's more common for parents to die before their children, when something happens in the opposite order it is viloma. The word is not specific to the death of a child. Feb 18, 2019 at 3:42

I would recommend BEREAVED though it has a general meaning of 'any people who are suffering the death'.

According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bereaved):



plural bereaved

: someone who is suffering the death of a loved one 

: one who is bereaved

// comfort the bereaved

  • it has a general meaning of ‘any people who are suffering the death.’ is poorly worded, I think you meant any person who has suffered the ‘loss’ of a close friend or relative.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 30, 2019 at 12:59
  • As you'll be able to tell from looking at the answers posted in the older questions, the term "bereaved" has been supplied a number of times. On EL&U, duplicate answers to duplicate questions is generally not favoured unless that answer contains some original content.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 30, 2019 at 13:01
  • I agree with Mari-Lou A that the term is too generic and does not directly relate to a parent losing a child.
    – GoodJuJu
    Jan 30, 2019 at 16:09
  • I mentioned the general character of the meaning in the answer.
    – user307254
    Jan 30, 2019 at 16:23

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