1. [syn: waif, street child]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Waif \Waif\, n. [OF. waif, gaif, as adj., lost, unclaimed, chose
gaive a waif, LL. wayfium, res vaivae; of Scand. origin. See
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.
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.
3. A wanderer; a castaway; a stray; a homeless child.
Desirous to return, and not received. --Cowper.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: a homeless child especially one forsaken or orphaned;
"street children beg or steal in order to survive" [syn:
waif, street child]
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
58 Moby Thesaurus words for "waif":
Arab, beach bum, beachcomber, beggar, bo, bum, bummer, castaway,
castoff, derelict, discard, dogie, flotsam, flotsam and jetsam,
foundling, gamin, gamine, guttersnipe, hobo, homeless waif, idler,
jetsam, junk, lagan, landloper, lazzarone, loafer, losel, mudlark,
orphan, piker, ragamuffin, ragman, ragpicker, refuse, reject,
rounder, rubbish, ski bum, stiff, stray, street Arab,
street urchin, sundowner, surf bum, swagman, swagsman,
tatterdemalion, tennis bum, tramp, trash, turnpiker, urchin, vag,
vagabond, vagrant, waifs and strays, wastrel
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):
WAIFS. Stolen goods waived or scattered by a thief in his flight in order to
effect his escape.
2. Such goods by the English common law belong to the king. 1 Bl. Com.
296; 5 Co. 109; Cro. Eliz. 694. This prerogative has never been adopted here
against the true owner, and never put in practice against the finder, though
against him there would be better reason for adopting it. 2 Kent, Com. 292.
Vide Com. Dig. h.t.; 1 Bro. Civ. Law, 239, n.