World English Dictionary
waif (weɪf)
1.  a person, esp a child, who is homeless, friendless, or neglected
2.  anything found and not claimed, the owner being unknown
3.  nautical another name for waft
4.  obsolete law a stolen article thrown away by a thief in his flight and forfeited to the Crown or to the lord of the manor
[C14: from Anglo-Norman, variant of Old Northern French gaif, of Scandinavian origin; related to Old Norse veif a flapping thing]

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