So basically, my mom recently remarried to a man with one daughter from a previous marriage. Obviously, she's my step-sister. Now, here's where I get confused; my step sister's mother had been married once before she met my step sister's dad and married him. In that first marriage, she had a son. When she had her second child (my step sister) in her second marriage (with my step dad), her two children were half siblings. My step dad is not my step sister's half brother's biological father. So, what do I call step sis's half brother, since he is technically family?

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    AFAIK, he's still just a "brother" for all purposes, in the English language.
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 8:04
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    Welcome to EL&U. Is there a word for this relationship in your native tongue? If not, why do you think there is in English? See also Is there an accepted rule for naming all of our various distant relatives (Kinship Terms)? and Paucity of words for relationships
    – choster
    Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 16:21
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    @choster Some languages do have a myriad relationship names, for practically every possible permutation and combination. Even so, that's no reason why English should or should not have, right?
    – Kris
    Commented Mar 1, 2018 at 7:07
  • The newer terms for family members and relations include skip brother, "... step brother of your half sibling OR the half brother of your step sibling." urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=skip+brother
    – Kris
    Commented Mar 1, 2018 at 7:13
  • If you live together and feel close, then brother. Otherwise, call him what you like.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 10 at 22:50

3 Answers 3


English has no name for a step-sister's half-brother but try drawing the relationships in diagrammatic form, rather then describing them in words. If English was interested in any relationship as distant as a step-sister's half-brother, wouldn’t your step-sister’s full brother be your step-brother? Then why wouldn’t her half brother be either your step-half-brother or your half-step-brother? If general English wanted to go that far, could you re-post the Question after seeking detailed answers from at least three or four WWWs specialising in genealogy.


English does not have complicated family terms or connections, so there is no term for this relationship you are describing which is more of a non-relationship than a relationship.


Using the Online Oxford Dictionary definition 1.1

A person in one's wider extended family, to whom one is not closely related.

You could call him a cousin or cousin by marriage. But that would probably give the wrong impression, as cousin is usually used to mean 1st or 2nd cousin. Even the term cousin once removed meaning 'cousin of a different generation' is often misunderstood by the general population.

The best choice for general conversation would probably be 'step-brother' or, if you wanted to imply slightly more distance, 'sort of step-brother' although the latter would probably lead to a longer discussion than is normally required.

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