step·​child | \ ˈstep-ˌchī(-ə)ld How to pronounce stepchild (audio) \

Definition of stepchild

1 : a child of one's wife or husband by a former partner
2 : one that fails to receive proper care or attention is no longer a stepchild in the family of nations— F. R. Smith

Examples of stepchild in a Sentence

The school has long been the forgotten stepchild of the state university system.
Recent Examples on the Web Fagan laid out how Spivack paid one stepchild’s rent, and another’s medical bills, and invested in another’s auto-detailing business. Mario Ariza,, "Private eye swindles millions from Boca Raton woman, prosecutors say," 8 Dec. 2020 Frozen foods might be the stepchild of the culinary world these days, with the attention paid to a farm-fresh approach. Marc Bona, cleveland, "45 cooking, beer, wine, recipe books – 2020 holiday gift guide," 7 Dec. 2020 Psychiatry, however, has always been the stepchild of medicine, and psychiatrists the oddball cousins. Elizabeth M. Larusso, Star Tribune, "A psychiatrist's pandemic plea: Fellow healers, please don't bear this burden alone," 4 Dec. 2020 Nevertheless, the indoors is the poor stepchild of the outdoors, at least in terms of environmental activism and regulation. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, "Is Staying In Staying Safe?," 31 Aug. 2020 An in-law or stepchild is considered neither kindred nor descendant and will not inherit. Dallas News, "Splitting heirs: Here’s an heir, there’s an heir, everywhere’s an heir," 16 Aug. 2020 While bridal is viewed, more often than not, as the stepchild to the fashion world, Piccoli's Haute Couture range might just be a nod to the lifeblood that could stand to sustain fashion's most historic and high-end realm. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Valentino Fall 2020 Haute Couture Was a Wedding Aisle—in the Sky," 21 July 2020 For decades religious freedom has been treated as the unwanted stepchild in the human-rights side of U.S. foreign policy. Nina Shea, WSJ, "A Big Step for Religious Freedom," 11 June 2020 The recipe was a stepchild of her soda bread, leaving out the buttermilk, and putting in the sweet plantains and vanilla instead. Kevin Fisher-paulson,, "Fisher-Paulson: Kindness among neighbors keeps San Franciscans strong," 2 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stepchild.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of stepchild

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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The first known use of stepchild was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Stepchild.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of stepchild

: your wife's or husband's child by a past marriage or relationship : a stepson or stepdaughter
: someone or something that does not receive enough care or attention

More from Merriam-Webster on stepchild

Nglish: Translation of stepchild for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stepchild for Arabic Speakers

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