Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR WAIF

I am such a waif and stray everywhere, that I am liable to be drifted where any current may set.'

Sitting in the sheets, I turned over in my mind all that this waif had said.

When he took refuge in the Vatican he must have been clinging to some waif and stray of hope.

Edwin said she should be called Waif, and Waif she was ever after called in that house.

Mrs. Barry bit her lip and did not love the waif the more that she had been able to defend her.

My waif was curled up in my kimono, feeding my fan-tailed goldfish.

I have become a rover and a waif, and I feel as lighthearted as a boy.

My husband told me all about your help and your kindness to our Waif.

Waif, who was slowly recovering, grew pathetically fond of his rescuer.

Meanwhile we has a good chance to inspect this waif that's been sort of wished on us.

WORD ORIGIN

late 14c., "unclaimed property, flotsam, stray animal," from Anglo-Norm. waif, gwaif (early 13c.) "ownerless property," probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse veif "waving thing, flag," from Proto-Germanic *waif-, from PIE *weip- "to turn, vacillate, tremble ecstatically" (see vibrate). Cf. Medieval Latin waivium "thing thrown away by a thief in flight." A Scottish/northern English parallel form was wavenger (late 15c.).

Meaning "person (especially a child) without home or friends" first attested 1784, from legal phrase waif and stray (1620s). Neglected children being uncommonly thin, the word tended toward this sense. Connotations of "fashionable, small, slender woman" began 1991 with application to childishly slim supermodels, e.g. Kate Moss.

MORE RELATED WORDS FOR WAIF

castaway

nounshipwrecked person

orphan

nounchild without parents
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.