The "sh" sound did not exist in Old French, therefore French scribes after the Norman conquest often represented it with -ssh- in medial and final positions, and sch- in initial positions (schape, schamful, schaft for shape, shameful, shaft). But the spelling -sh- has been standard since Caxton, probably as a worn-down form of Middle English -sch-.
In some East Anglian texts from 14c.-15c., x- is used (xal, xulde for shall, should), which would have given the language a very different look had it prevailed, but the London-based sh- ended up as the standard form. The same Germanic sound has become, by natural evolution, modern German and Dutch sch-, Scandinavian sk-.
before vowels, hol-, word-forming element meaning "whole, entire, complete," from Greek holos "whole, entire, complete," also "safe and sound;" as a noun, "the universe," as an adverb, "on the whole;" from PIE *sol-wo-, from root *sol- "whole." Often translated as whole, which it resembles but with which it apparently has no etymological connection.
consonant sound in some English words derived from Greek. The p- typically is silent in English but pronounced in French, German, Spanish, etc.
It is to be desired that it were sounded in English, also, at least in scientific and learned words; since the reduction of pneo- to neo-, pneu- to new-, and pnyx to nix, is a loss to etymology and intelligibility, and a weakening of the resources of the language. [OED]
Etymologically, a stepfather or stepmother is one who becomes father or mother to an orphan, but the notion of orphanage faded in 20c. and came to denote simply relation through marriage. For sense evolution, compare Latin privignus "stepson," related to privus "deprived." Compare orphan (n.).