A stepfamily is a family where at least one parent has children that are not genetically related to the other spouse or partner.Either one parent may have children from a previous relationship.The words are used to denote a connection resulting from the remarriage of a widowed parent and are related to the word ástíeped meaning bereaved, with stepbairn and stepchild occasionally used simply as synonyms for orphan.

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The term is not generally used (but can be in individual cases) to refer to the relationship with an adult child who never lived in the home with the parent's new partner.

A "simple" stepfamily is one in which only one member of the couple has a prior child or children and the couple has not yet had additional children.

A child is referred to as the stepchild, stepdaughter or stepson of their biological parent's new spouse, and that person as the stepparent, stepfather or stepmother of the child.

A stepfather is the husband of one's mother and not one's biological father.

Steopsunu is given for the Latin word filiaster and steopmoder for nouerca.

Similar words recorded later in Old English include stepbairn, stepchild and stepfather.This is a common feeling for a parent to have when faced with the new circumstance of blended families. Although historically stepfamilies are built through the institution of marriage and are legally recognized, it is currently unclear if a stepfamily can be both established and recognized by less formal arrangements, such as when a man or woman with children cohabits with another man or woman outside of marriage.This relationship is becoming more common in all Western countries.Children in a stepfamily may live with one biological parent, or they may live with each biological parent for a period of time.In addition, visitation rights mean that children in stepfamilies often have contact with both biological parents, even if they permanently live with only one.Similarly, a stepbrother is the son of a stepparent who one is not biologically related to.