• WordNet 3.6
    • n waif a homeless child especially one forsaken or orphaned "street children beg or steal in order to survive"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Waif A wanderer; a castaway; a stray; a homeless child. "A waif Desirous to return, and not received."
    • Waif (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.
    • Waif Hence, anything found, or without an owner; that which comes along, as it were, by chance. "Rolling in his mind old waifs of rhyme."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n waif Anything blown by the wind or drifted in by the ocean; a thing tossed abroad and abandoned; a stray or odd piece or article.
    • n waif In law: Goods found of which the owner is not known.
    • n waif Such goods as a thief, when pursued, throws away to prevent being apprehended.
    • n waif A wanderer; one who is lost; a neglected, homeless wretch: applied also to beasts.
    • n waif Same as weft or waft.
    • waif Vagabond; worthless; ignoble; inferior. Also waff.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Waif wāf a stray article: anything found astray without an owner: a worthless wanderer
    • adj Waif vagabond, worthless
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OF. waif, gaif, as adj., lost, unclaimed, chose gaive, a waif, LL. wayfium, res vaivae,; of Scand. origin. See Waive


In literature:

Certainly the child was fortunate, for you have been very kind to the little waif.
"'Smiles'" by Eliot H. Robinson
One day Charles Loring Brace came to him for financial assistance in establishing homes for the little waifs of the city.
"American Boy's Life of Theodore Roosevelt" by Edward Stratemeyer
I was becoming impatient, when I perceived a sudden waif of light far out upon the plain.
"The War Trail" by Mayne Reid
Glory be, that I am still here to make comfortable for the waif on my doorstep.
"The Best Short Stories of 1919" by Various
But disguised as a poor waif, I seek a hiding-place from my tormentors.
"Marjorie's Busy Days" by Carolyn Wells
In a few days Shiloh was up, but the mere shadow of a little waif, following the old man around the place.
"The Bishop of Cottontown" by John Trotwood Moore
Was this little alien waif to be made a catspaw for her revenge?
"Flamsted quarries" by Mary E. Waller
Here were two waifs needing love and care.
"The Lilac Lady" by Ruth Alberta Brown
Then she had been a social waif, received on sufferance.
"Jewel Weed" by Alice Ames Winter
How strange that this one man, the most despised and miserable, should be the only one to reach a hand to help these little waifs of the woods!
"Shadows of Shasta" by Joaquin Miller

In poetry:

A broken, an emptied boat,
Sea saps it, winds blow apart,
Sick and adrift and afloat,
The barren waif of a heart.
"Satia te Sanguine" by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Lowly shall love thee,
Thee, open-handed!
Stalwart shall shield thee,
Thee, worth their best blood,
Waif of the West!
"The Voyage To Vinland: Bioern's Beckoners" by James Russell Lowell
While underneath their brows
Like waifs their spirits grope
For the pools of Hebron again—
For Lebanon's summer slope.
"Through These Pale Cold Days" by Isaac Rosenberg
My boat is on the bounding tide,
Away, away from surge and shore;
A waif upon the wave I ride,
Without a rudder or an oar.
"The Ideal And The Actual" by Samuel Griswold Goodrich
The sport of Time, who still apart
The waifs of life is flinging;
Oh, nevermore shall heart to heart
Draw nearer for that singing!
"A Memory" by John Greenleaf Whittier
And well I know the homeless waif,
Fed by the poorest of the poor;
Since I have seen that child alone,
Crying against a bolted door.
"Who I Know" by William H Davies

In news:

In the 1936 film "Pennies From Heaven," Edith Fellows played her most famous role, Patsy, a waif befriended by Bing Crosby.
Photographs prove Marilyn Monroe could be a glamour queen on the order of Marlene Dietrich, or a lost waif who resembled Shirley Temple.
Hannah O'Daniel shows off a fancy coat as waifs snatch her purse, hat, scarf, and jewelry during a song from the musical "Oliver" at the school's annual Spring Concert on May 7.
Waif-like girls with long hair, wearing thigh-high athletic-striped socks…and not much else.
Alleged FCC violations could imperil the future of WAIF Community Radio.
Even as a kid growing up in the Yuba City farmworkers camp known as the Richland Housing Center, Waif Mullins knew he had a gift and a passion for art.
It's time for a new WAIF animal shelter / LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.
And the good news is that the new WAIF animal shelter is, at last, well on its way to becoming a reality.
The event raised $100,000 and honored WAIF 's 20th year of dedicated work for Whidbey Island's homeless animals.
Those funds will provide additional resources for extraordinary care, and will help support and expand WAIF 's Crisis Care and Prevent-A-Litter spay and neuter programs.
We are writing to honor someone who has been pivotal in accomplishing WAIF 's move into our newly located Thrift Store and Cat Adoption Center in Oak Harbor.
WAIF 's lawyer, Mark Theune, objects to Adam Karp's request for the judge to issue a stay.
Following Churchill's decision in WAIF 's favor Friday, Karp asked her to issue a stay, which would bar the animal shelter — again — from euthanizing the dog.
WAIF celebrates volunteer efforts.
WAIF celebrated 17 years of operation in 2007, and the year proved to be challenging and exciting for the private, nonprofit animal shelter, said Pamela Hill-Keeva, board president.