step- el. prefixed to terms of relationship to designate a degree of affinity resulting from the remarriage of a widowed parent. OE. stēop- (as in stēopcīld step-child, -fæder -father, -mōder -mother, -sunu -son), corr. to OS. stiof-, (M)Du. stief-, MLG. stēf-, OHG. stiof- (G. stief), On. stjúp-; the prim. sense is indicated by its relation to OE. āstīeped bereaved, OHG. stiufen bereave, and the meaning ‘orphan’ of OE. stēopbearn, -cild. Later formations are stepbrother, -sister (XV), stepdame (XIV).
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