Waif Waif, n. [OF. waif, gaif, as adj., lost, unclaimed, chose gaive a waif, LL. wayfium, res vaivae; of Scand. origin. See {Waive}.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Eng. Law.) Goods found of which the owner is not known; originally, such goods as a pursued thief threw away to prevent being apprehended, which belonged to the king unless the owner made pursuit of the felon, took him, and brought him to justice. --Blackstone. [1913 Webster]

2. Hence, anything found, or without an owner; that which comes along, as it were, by chance. ``Rolling in his mind old waifs of rhyme.'' --Tennyson. [1913 Webster]

3. A wanderer; a castaway; a stray; a homeless child. [1913 Webster]

A waif Desirous to return, and not received. --Cowper. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • waif — (n.) late 14c., unclaimed property, flotsam, stray animal, from Anglo Norm. waif, gwaif (early 13c.) ownerless property, probably from a Scandinavian source akin to O.N. veif waving thing, flag, from P.Gmc. *waif , from PIE *weip to turn,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • waif — ► NOUN ▪ a homeless and helpless person, especially a neglected or abandoned child. DERIVATIVES waifish adjective. ORIGIN originally in waif and stray, denoting a piece of property found and, if unclaimed, falling to the lord of the manor: from… …   English terms dictionary

  • waif — index orphan Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • waif — [weıf] n [Date: 1300 1400; : Old North French; Origin: , (adjective), lost, unclaimed , from a Scandinavian language] 1.) someone, especially a child, who is pale and thin and looks as if they do not have a home 2.) waifs and strays BrE children… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • waif — [ weıf ] noun count a person, especially a child, who is thin and pale and looks as if they need to be taken care of a. a child who has no home waifs and strays BRITISH children or animals that do not have homes …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • waif- — *waif germ.: Quelle: Personenname; Sonstiges: Reichert, Lexikon der altgermanischen Namen 2, 1990, 639 (Alwef, Baudofeif, Genuveif, Marcoveif, Merveif, Vaefari …   Germanisches Wörterbuch

  • waif — [n] lost or unclaimed person or thing castaway, dogie, drop*, fetch*, flotsam, foundling, homeless one, jetsam, orphan, ragamuffin, stray, urchin; concept 423 …   New thesaurus

  • waif — [wāf] n. [ME < NormFr, prob. < ON veif, anything flapping about < veifa, to wave, swing < IE * weip , to turn, var. of * weib > L vibrare, to VIBRATE] 1. anything found by chance that is without an owner 2. a person without home or …   English World dictionary

  • Waif — The word waif (from the Old French guaif , stray beast)Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/waif (accessed: June 02, 2008)] refers to a living creature removed, by hardship, loss or other… …   Wikipedia

  • WAIF — Infobox Radio station name = WAIF city = area = Cincinnati, Ohio branding = slogan = airdate = frequency = 88.3 FM format = community radio power = erp = haat = class = facility id = coordinates = callsign meaning = former callsigns = owner = The …   Wikipedia

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