Word of the Day

Thursday, August 08, 2013

waif

\weyf\ , noun;
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.
4.
Nautical. waft.
Quotes:
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:
Waif likely finds its roots in the Old Norse veif meaning "waving thing" or "flag."
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