- 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. - Hence, anything found, or without an owner; that which comes
along, as it were, by chance. - A wanderer; a castaway; a stray; a homeless child.
Meaning of 'waif' (Princeton's WordNet)
1 . waif
Meaning (1): - a homeless child especially one forsaken or orphaned