Waive
Posted: 19 February 2014 12:43 AM   [ Ignore ]
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This one surprised me, although the clues were there (eg naive, naif). Waive comes from Anglo-Norman weyver, which is a dialect variation of Old French gaiver, “to allow to become a ‘waif’, to abandon”.

The initial sense in English is (from OED):

1. trans. Law. To deprive (a person) of the benefit and protection of the law as a punishment; to outlaw. Chiefly in pass.In Anglo-Norman weyver had the sense ‘to abandon, disclaim ownership of (a serf)’: see Britton i. xxxii. §8.

†a. gen. = outlaw v. Obs.
1297 R. Gloucester’s Chron. (Rolls) 10823 He let al so uor is loue deliueri of prison Sir hubert de boru & oþere þat in prison were ido & hom þat iweiued were is pes he ȝef al so.

Hence through various related senses to the modern meaning.

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Posted: 19 February 2014 06:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Very interesting; I too was surprised!

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Posted: 19 February 2014 08:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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You weren’t the only one. Thanks, aldi!

I think I’ve seen “waiver” used (usually in some legal context), more often than I’ve seen “waive”. The most memorable use I can think of: “Ah, take the Cash in hand, and waive the Rest: Oh, the brave Music of a distant Drum!”* (E. Fitzgerald, The Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam). That’s the one that sent me to the dictionary, to look the word up.

* Famously paraphrased by Woody Allen: “Take the Money and Run”

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Posted: 28 December 2016 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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My 89-year-old father came for Christmas, and on the 26th he came down to breakfast saying ‘I woke in the night thinking what an odd word waive is, and wondering what its origin was. Do you know?’ (You can see where I got it from.)

I didn’t know: but we trotted off to my language reference shelf and the online OED, and were both greatly enlightened. This thread is as far as I can see the only time that waive and waif have been discussed. Don’t this interesting pair merit an entry in the Big List?

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Posted: 29 December 2016 06:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ve added waive and waif to the Big List.

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Posted: 29 December 2016 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Dave Wilton - 29 December 2016 06:11 AM

I’ve added waive and waif to the Big List.

Good stuff.

Re this bit:

Both waive nor waif have a distinct history separate from the verbs to wave and to waver, at least over the course of the last thousand years. They do, however, probably share a common Germanic root.

Do you mean they both DO have a distinct history etc...?

Prompted by the connection, I had a quick look in my Dutch Van Dalen etymological dictionary.

Under waaien, which means ‘to wave, to gust (of wind)’, it mentions the possibility that it shares its root with ‘wind’ (Lat ventus) and also offers the meaning of the phrase iets in de wind slaan as ‘to cast something into the wind, to surrender something to the wind, to let something blow away’.

Quite near the sense of ‘waive’ I thought… worth any serious consideration? Although I should stress that I cannot find any phonetically closer word than waaien (OE wawan) to waif or waive in modern Dutch.

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Posted: 29 December 2016 08:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Corrected. Thanks.

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Posted: 29 December 2016 06:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Excellent entry.

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