Definitions for waif

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word waif

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

waif(n.)

  1. a person, esp. a child, who has no home.

  2. a stray animal, whose owner is not known.

  3. a stray item or article.

Origin of waif:

1350–1400; ME < AF, orig. lost, stray, unclaimed (cf. OF guaif stray beast) < Scand; cf. ON veif movement to and fro; see waive

Princeton's WordNet

  1. waif, street child(noun)

    a homeless child especially one forsaken or orphaned

    "street children beg or steal in order to survive"

Wiktionary

  1. waif(Noun)

    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.

  2. waif(Noun)

    Hence, anything found, or without an owner; that which comes along, as it were, by chance.

  3. waif(Noun)

    A wanderer; a castaway; a stray; a homeless child.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Waif(noun)

    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

  2. Waif(noun)

    hence, anything found, or without an owner; that which comes along, as it were, by chance

  3. Waif(noun)

    a wanderer; a castaway; a stray; a homeless child

Freebase

  1. Waif

    A waif is a living creature removed, by hardship, loss or other helpless circumstance, from its original surroundings. The most common usage of the word is to designate a homeless, forsaken or orphaned child, or someone whose appearance is evocative of the same. As such, the term is similar to a ragamuffin or street urchin, although the main distinction is volitional: a runaway youth might live on the streets, but would not properly be called a waif as the departure from one's home was an exercise of free will. Likewise, a person fleeing their home for purposes of safety, is typically considered not a waif but a refugee.


Translations for waif

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary

waif(noun)

a stray, uncared-for child

a poor little waif.

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