Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to step-

steep (adj.)

"having a sharp slope," Old English steap "high, lofty; deep; prominent, projecting," from Proto-Germanic *staupa- (source also of Old Frisian stap "high, lofty," Middle High German *stouf), from PIE *steup-, extended form of root *(s)teu- (1) "to push, stick, knock, beat," with derivations referring to projecting objects (source also of Greek typtein "to strike," typos "a blow, mold, die;" Sanskrit tup- "harm," tundate "pushes, stabs;" Gothic stautan "push;" Old Norse stuttr "short"). The sense of "precipitous" is from c. 1200. The slang sense "at a high price" is a U.S. coinage first attested 1856. Related: Steeply; steepness. The noun meaning "steep place" is from 1550s.

Advertisement
orphan (n.)

"a child bereaved of one or both parents, generally the latter," c. 1300, from Late Latin orphanus "parentless child" (source of Old French orfeno, orphenin, Italian orfano), from Greek orphanos "orphaned, without parents, fatherless," literally "deprived," from orphos "bereft."

This is from PIE *orbho- "bereft of father," also "deprived of free status," from root *orbh- "to change allegiance, to pass from one status to another" (source also of Hittite harb- "change allegiance," Latin orbus "bereft," Sanskrit arbhah "weak, child," Armenian orb "orphan," Old Irish orbe "heir," Old Church Slavonic rabu "slave," rabota "servitude" (see robot), Gothic arbja, German erbe, Old English ierfa "heir," Old High German arabeit, German Arbeit "work," Old Frisian arbed, Old English earfoð "hardship, suffering, trouble").

As an adjective from late 15c., "bereft of parents," said of a child or young dependent person. Figurative use is from late 15c. The Little Orphan Annie U.S. newspaper comic strip created by Harold Gray (1894-1968) debuted in 1924 in the New York "Daily News." Earlier it was the name (as Little Orphant Annie) of the character in James Whitcomb Riley's 1885 poem, originally titled "Elf Child":

LITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

Orphant was an old, corrupt form of orphan, attested from 17c.

stepbrother (n.)

also step-brother, mid-15c., from step- + brother (n.).

stepchild (n.)

also step-child, Old English steopcild; see step- + child (n.). Old English also had steopbearn. Similar formation in German Stiefkind.

step-daughter (n.)

Old English stepdohtor; see step- + daughter (n.). Similar formation in German Stieftochter.

stepfather (n.)

also step-father, Old English steopfæder; see step- + father.

stepmother (n.)

also step-mother, Old English steopmodor; see step- + mother (n.1). Associated with parsimony and cruelty at least since Middle English.

Is Moder was ded, his fader nam an oþur wijf. ... seint Edward heo louede luyte, for stepmoder is selde guod. ["South English Legendary," c. 1300]
step-sister (n.)

also stepsister, mid-15c., from step- + sister (n.).

step-son (n.)

also stepson, Old English steopsunu; see step- + son.