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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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
What is yonder undetected villain's marble mansion with a door-plate for a waif; what is that but a Fast-Fish?
It could never be the same, of course, but yet, day by day, she found her mother-love, enveloping the waif more closely until she sometimes sat with closed eyes lost in the sweet imagining that the little bundle of humanity at her breast was truly her own.
Her heart, bereft of its own, had gone out to this poor, little, nameless waif, and lavished upon it all the love that had been denied her during the long, bitter weeks of her captivity aboard the Kincaid.
He was followed almost immediately by Hiram Da Souza, who, curiously enough, seemed to have been on the platform when the train came in and to have been much interested in this shabby, lonely old man, who carried himself like a waif stranded in an unknown land.
But the spare room was out of the question for such a stray waif, so there remained only the east gable room.
Also she began to remember that she was a waif of the storm, adrift upon a treacherous and unknown sea.
The woman's heart, hungering in its horrible isolation for something that it might harmlessly love, welcomed the rescued waif of the streets as a consolation sent from God.
"I have heard a waif word in the country," said I, a little nettled, "that you were a hard man to drive."
"This is Meriem, my dear," he said, and he told the story of the jungle waif in so far as he knew it.
In Wanty's Division Two, Spot On Mandems beat the Spot On Waifs & Strays 7-2 in a re-arranged top of the table clash between the two on Bank Holiday Monday, but then lost 6-3 to third place Crown Rejects on league night.
They include native species, naturalized species (species introduced from elsewhere but reproducing here), common waifs (species that grow from seed blown off trucks, fallen from bird feeders, or dumped in yard waste that persist only for a few years), and major agricultural grasses (such as wheat, oats, and barley) that are repeatedly found as waifs along roads where straw was used as mulch.
In the spring, the shelter sent 50 dogs and cats, including 32 from Natchez Pet Adoptions, on an 800-mile trip to Wayside Waifs, a private, no-kill shelter in Kansas City, Mo.