c. 1300, "deprive of legal protection," from Anglo-French weyver "to abandon, waive" (Old French guever "to abandon, give back"), probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse veifa "to swing about," from Proto-Germanic *waif-, from PIE root *weip- "to turn, vacillate, tremble ecstatically." In Middle English legal language, used of rights, goods, or women.
If the defendant be a woman, the proceeding is called a waiver; for as women were not sworn to the law by taking the oath of allegiance in the leet (as men anciently were when of the age of twelve years and upwards), they could not properly be outlawed, but were said to be waived, i.e., derelicta, left out, or not regarded. [from section subtitled "Outlawry" in J.J.S. Wharton, "Law-Lexicon, or Dictionary of Jurisprudence," London, 1867]
By 17c. as "to relinquish, forbear to insist on or claim, defer for the present." Related: Waived; waiving.
updated on March 12, 2020