step·​child | \ˈstep-ˌchī(-ə)ld \

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

Family members—typically spouses and adult children—still provide the majority of care for the sick and aging, but as families become smaller and more far-flung, others are stepping in, including grandchildren, neighbors, stepchildren, and partners. Clare Ansberry, WSJ, "An Ex-Husband Moves Back In—for Cancer Care," 18 Aug. 2018 Williams, who has three stepchildren and five grandkids, depends on an automated savings account. Carmen Wong Ulrich, Good Housekeeping, "Spend Less, Give More," 15 Nov. 2011 Ott is survived by husband John M. Paulett, her stepchild Kelly (Craig) Mitchell and grandchild Hannah Mitchell. Kt Hawbaker,, "Sabina Ott, 'Artist Mother of Chicago,' dies at 62," 26 June 2018 No proceeds from the estate had been distributed to her four beneficiaries, according to court documents filed by an attorney on behalf of one of Doss’ stepchildren. Lauren Caruba, San Antonio Express-News, "Area school board member charged with felony theft, perjury," 8 June 2018 Bush soaped down her new stepchildren and outfitted them with her own kids’ clothes. Gillian Brockell, Washington Post, "Abraham Lincoln’s ‘angel mother’ and the second ‘mama’ who outlived him," 12 May 2018 Martin-Edmonds, who recently remarried and gained four stepchildren, calls Dudan and Cranfill her heroes. Maureen C. Gilmer, Indianapolis Star, "A chance meeting with 'Undercover Boss' changed Indianapolis woman's life," 26 June 2018 Lashley is married and has four children, two of them stepchildren. Dave Southorn, idahostatesman, "Boise State football preparing to play both of its true freshmen at running back," 6 June 2018 Foster has five daughters and multiple stepchildren from his previous relationships, some of whom are older than McPhee. Allie Jones, The Cut, "Is Selena Gomez Okay?," 10 July 2018

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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Statistics for stepchild

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stepchild

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on stepchild

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stepchild

Spanish Central: Translation of stepchild

Nglish: Translation of stepchild for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stepchild for Arabic Speakers

Comments on stepchild

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to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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