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.

  • 1
    I don't think there's such a term. They are just parents who have lost all their children. – Kris Jan 30 '19 at 11:18
  • Duplicate on ELL: ...a parent who has lost their child – Cascabel Jan 30 '19 at 13:24
  • I'm surprised I missed the duplicate as I searched quite a bit before. Thanks for the links. – GoodJuJu Jan 30 '19 at 15:20

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

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    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 '19 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. – ShreevatsaR Feb 18 '19 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

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  • 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 '19 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 '19 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 '19 at 16:09
  • I mentioned the general character of the meaning in the answer. – user307254 Jan 30 '19 at 16:23

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