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Clue:

A world that was once bereaved of children

Answer: "ORB". What is the the connection between "orb" and "bereaved of children"?

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  • $\begingroup$ Where did you get this clue from? $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Nov 20, 2023 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ Looks like it's 19a in a crossword published in an NZ newspaper called The Post on 2023-11-21. See e.g. stuff.pressreader.com/article/281917367817391. The two crossing clues have solutions compatible with the answer ORB to this one. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Nov 20, 2023 at 19:51

1 Answer 1

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I'm afraid the answer is rather boring: "orb" did once mean bereaved of children. (Or at least "not having children"; in the illustrative quotations in the OED it seems more like "never having had children" than like "having had children who then died". So I'm not sure "bereaved" is actually correct. On the other hand, the etymology suggests that it can cover both shades of meaning.)

The OED says it derives from Latin orbus meaning "without or bereaved of parents or children" and gives two examples of its use, both from the 1600s.

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    $\begingroup$ I suspect that this may be a bereaved vs. bereft confusion or looseness of definition. Where both mean "deprived of {something of value}", but the former means (at least in current English) specifically ".. by death" $\endgroup$
    – fljx
    Nov 20, 2023 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ I suspect it's rather due to a use of the Chambers dictionary (popular among crossword setters), whose definition for orb reads "Bereaved, esp of children" $\endgroup$
    – Carmeister
    Nov 21, 2023 at 22:08

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