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Word of the Day
Thursday, August 08, 2013

Definitions for waif

  1. a person, especially a child, who has no home or friends.
  2. something found, especially a stray animal, whose owner is not known.
  3. a stray item or article: to gather waifs of gossip.

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Citations for waif
Cadet Blanchet almost forgot his rancour and no one at the mill knew of Mother Zabelle's project to send the waif back to the foundling hospital. George Sand, The Country Waif, 1930
It wasn't any one thing that made a waif. Isobel was sure of that. It wasn't being crippled, or being in disgrace, or even not being married. It was a shameful thing to be a waif, but it was also mysterious. Maeve Brennan, The Rose Garden: Short Stories, 2000
Origin of waif
Waif likely finds its roots in the Old Norse veif meaning "waving thing" or "flag."