What Does Estranged Mean?

Estrangement is a word that is used to describe a state of being disconnected or detached from someone or something that was once close or familiar. It can refer to the breakdown of a relationship between two individuals, such as family members, friends, or romantic partners, or to a disconnection from a group or community. Understanding what it means to be estranged is important because it can help individuals identify and cope with situations where they are feeling disconnected or isolated. This blog post will explore the definition, etymology, and effects of estrangement, as well as provide examples and strategies for coping with it.

Etymology of Estranged:

The word “estranged” comes from the Middle English word “estrange,” which originated from the Old French “estrange,” meaning “to remove from one’s home.” Over time, the meaning of the word has evolved to encompass a broader sense of disconnection or detachment from someone or something. The word “estranged” has been used in literature, poetry, and other forms of written and spoken communication for centuries, and its meaning has remained relatively stable over time.

In its most basic form, to be estranged means to be separated or disconnected from someone or something that was once close or familiar. This can be the result of a variety of factors, such as personal differences, distance, or a breakdown in communication. Regardless of the specific reason, estrangement can have a significant impact on individuals and their relationships, making it an important concept to understand.

Dictionary Definition of Estranged:

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of “estranged” is:

1 : withdrawn from or lacking affection for one’s kin or close friends 2 : separated from or alienated from a former relationship, attachment, or association

In other words, to be estranged means to have a relationship that has been severed or to be detached from someone or something that was once close or familiar. This definition encompasses a wide range of experiences, from a breakdown in a family relationship to a disconnection from a social group or community. The key factor in this definition is the absence of affection or connection that once existed.

It is worth noting that the word “estranged” is often used in contrast to words such as “close” or “connected,” which describe a state of intimacy or closeness in a relationship. By understanding the definition of estranged, individuals can better recognize when they are experiencing this type of disconnection and work to address it.

Examples of Estranged:

Here are some examples of estrangement:

  1. In personal relationships: Estrangement can occur between family members, friends, or romantic partners. For example, a parent and child who have not spoken to each other for years due to a disagreement or a falling out would be considered estranged.
  2. In legal terms: Estrangement can also refer to a legal separation, such as a divorce, which severs the legal ties between two individuals.
  3. In literature: In literature, the term “estranged” is often used to describe characters who are disconnected or detached from their community, family, or other relationships. For example, a character who is struggling with feelings of loneliness and isolation may be described as being estranged from those around them.

These examples illustrate the various ways that estrangement can occur and the impact it can have on individuals and their relationships. Whether it is a personal relationship, a legal separation, or a fictional character, estrangement can be a challenging and difficult experience, but understanding what it means and how it affects individuals can help in coping with it.

Reasons for Estrangement:

Estrangement can occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. Personal differences: Personal differences, such as conflicting values, beliefs, or opinions, can cause a breakdown in a relationship and lead to estrangement.
  2. Distance: Physical distance, such as living in different parts of the world, can also contribute to estrangement. Over time, the lack of physical contact can make it difficult to maintain a close relationship.
  3. Communication breakdown: Poor communication can also lead to estrangement, especially if misunderstandings and disagreements are not resolved.
  4. Trauma or hurtful events: Experiencing traumatic events or being hurt by someone can also cause estrangement. For example, if a family member says or does something hurtful, it can be difficult to reconcile and maintain a close relationship.
  5. Mental health issues: Mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, can also cause individuals to feel disconnected or detached from others, leading to estrangement.

These are just a few examples of the reasons why estrangement can occur. It is important to remember that estrangement can result from a combination of factors, and each situation is unique. Understanding the reasons behind estrangement can help individuals address and resolve the issue, leading to a stronger and more fulfilling relationship.

Coping with Estrangement:

Coping with estrangement can be challenging, but there are steps that individuals can take to address and resolve the issue:

  1. Seek support: Talking to friends, family, or a mental health professional can help individuals process their feelings and gain perspective on the situation.
  2. Practice self-care: Engaging in self-care activities, such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies, can help individuals manage stress and cope with the emotional pain associated with estrangement.
  3. Communicate effectively: Improving communication skills can help individuals resolve conflicts and reconcile relationships.
  4. Seek counseling or therapy: Talking to a therapist or counselor can help individuals work through the emotions and challenges associated with estrangement.
  5. Consider mediation or family therapy: In some cases, family therapy or mediation may be helpful in resolving conflicts and restoring relationships.
  6. Let go of the past: Focusing on the present and the future, rather than dwelling on past conflicts and hurts, can help individuals move forward and find closure.
  7. Forgive: Forgiving others and letting go of anger and resentment can help individuals move forward and find peace.

These are just a few examples of the steps that individuals can take to cope with estrangement. It is important to remember that each situation is unique and what works for one person may not work for another. It is essential to find what works best for each individual and to reach out for support when needed.


In conclusion, estrangement is a complex and often challenging issue that can have far-reaching effects on individuals and their relationships. Understanding the reasons behind estrangement, as well as the impact that it can have, is important in addressing and resolving the issue. By seeking support, practicing self-care, and taking proactive steps to reconcile relationships, individuals can find closure and move forward in a positive direction. It is important to remember that each situation is unique and that it may take time, patience, and effort to heal and restore relationships. However, with the right support and approach, it is possible to overcome estrangement and build stronger and more fulfilling relationships.

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