[Ads-l] Just heard on a reality show:

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu May 14 02:48:24 UTC 2015

OTOH, if one's genetic parents were evil incarnate, whereas one's
stepparents, whether also adoptive or not, were heaven's loss, one may
unconsciously find oneself annoyed by a seemingly uncalled-for and
unnecessary slighting by another's drawing a distinction between
"stepparent" and mere "parent's spouse," especially as the "corrected"
answer to the question, "Who supports you in this endeavor?"

Of course, if your stepparents were straight out of Grimm's, YMMV.


On Wed, May 13, 2015 at 8:28 AM, Amy West <medievalist at w-sts.com> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Amy West <medievalist at W-STS.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Just heard on a reality show:
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On 5/13/15 12:00 AM, ADS-L automatic digest system wrote:
> > Date:    Tue, 12 May 2015 18:39:19 -0700
> > From:    Benjamin Barrett<gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
> > Subject: Re: Just heard on a reality show:
> >
> > This is something I struggle with. Since my mother's husband never
> > adopted me, my understanding is that he's not my stepfather even though
> > I usually refer to him that way when stating his relationship to me.
> > Neither Wiktionary nor the Oxford Dictionary site include the
> > requirement of adoption.
> >
> > Benjamin Barrett
> > Formerly of Seattle, WA
> That's because there is no requirement for adoption. If your mother's
> husband legally adopted you, then he'd be your father, not your stepfather.
> My cousin refers to her stepmother as her mother. But, her stepmother
> definitely took on that role when my cousin was very young, and it
> reflects the warm and loving relationship they have.
> I never referred to my father's second wife as my stepmother, or I
> strongly resisted it. I was an adult when they married and did not like
> her.
> They're fluid terms. The interviewee's mother may have had 3 marriages,
> and so may have a father, a stepfather, and now what? "Mother's husband"
> implies a certain emotional distance. Yeah, technically another
> stepfather, but we do use terms to show how we think or feel about
> people/things.
> ---Amy West
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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