32 Comments

  1. For that matter, does the whole concept of step-siblings even have meaning once you’re an adult (which these two nominally are)? My mother remarried when I was in my 30s. He had two daughters. I not only never thought of them as step-sisters, but I couldn’t tell you their names.

    (Granted I’m rubbish with names, but still…)

  2. I think encountering Cinderella in childhood permanently ruined the “step-” thing for me. I never encountered any real “step-” people until well into adulthood. Now I have a couple of real step-sons and to me they just seem like somewhat younger friends who have a special rapport with my wife.

  3. Is there a reason why having her as a step-sister would be not cool? Are they making the beast with two backs? And if so, why would it matter? And as CIDU Bill said, they’re adults.

  4. Yes, the kids of my mothers spouse are my step-siblings to me. But it has little significance but it does mean they are in my extended family. May need to call on them for reasons now and then. And they are allowed to come to thanksgiving whether anyone wants them to or not.

    And no, marriage is not relevant.

  5. Not just Cinderella but all stepmothers in all stories were cruel and evil. When I found out that my father’s mother had died when he was 6 and his father remarried, I asked him if his stepmother was wicked and cruel like all the others.

  6. That’s one of those things. I was an adult when My father married again. I never considered her to be my stepmother, because she never played a mother role to me. To me she was my father’s second wife.

  7. SingaporeBill – they’re both obnoxious characters, on slightly different angles, and therefore hate each other. Except recently they’ve found ways of getting along…most of which relate to escaping or attacking his mother.

  8. And…huh. My father’s mother was a stepmother – his eldest brother had a different mother. Never made any difference that I saw. I have no idea of the oldest boy’s age when his father remarried, but there’s not a huge gap between him and the next son – three or four years, maybe, not ten. So not quite the same thing. I didn’t find out about it until I was late teens, and only because we were working on the family tree.

  9. As Wednesday’s strip shows, Tiffany thinks Anne will use her pregnancy to get Tiffany’s father to marry her and thus get her hooks completely into his money. There isn’t really anything going on between Les and Tiffany, though he would like there to be. Not that them suddenly becoming stepsiblings would preclude anything between the two of them.

  10. @ DemetriosX – Aside from the “creep” factor, I think there might be a legal hurdle to it as well, but that would depend on the exact wording of the laws in the jurisdiction in which they might be marrying. A quick search proved that the issue is complex and would require more effort to solve than I am willing to expend for a “Luann” strip.

  11. So it’s been a while since I read Luann, but I recall that Tiffany is rather dumb and very conventional, so it may not occur to her that marriage would not be inevitable. Or she may be viewing having a baby together as implying some sort of common law marriage. Or she understands all this and is trying to motivate the other character to somehow oppose the relationship of their parents, on the basis that there can be nothing between them if they are step-siblings because eww.

  12. I just call them all my brothers – no one really needs to know the various ways we are related to each other. 🙂

  13. Kilby, unless their step-parents adopt them, they’re not legally related to one another in any way.

    I’m not sure I’d even call it creepy, in fact (aside from the fact that Les and his family are all kind of creepy)

  14. Regardless of her father’s and his mother’s marital status, the baby would be the half sister/brother to these two. They would be step siblings if her father and his mother get married regardless of the parents having a baby.

  15. Oh gosh! Hunh! so that’s a real song?

    I had always thought that when the narrator of “All You Zombies” mentions it, it was just a fictive invention to fit the context.

  16. Sans adoption, I don’t really see any legal hurdles and given that they’re both in their late teens, I don’t really see a “creep factor” either. If their parents had gotten together when they were very young and they’d been raised as siblings, then yeah that’s creepy.

    As for the song, I was familiar with both the Muppets version and the Homer and Jethro version, assuming that’s the one Dr. Demento often played.

  17. Getting it on with your hot step-sister is very popular. I won’t link to the research.

  18. In reference to the first comment: I agree, age makes a difference. I was in high school when my dad got remarried, and I often referred to his wife as my stepmother, as well as calling her daughters my stepsisters. But I was in my thirties when my mom got remarried, and I’ve never once thought of that guy as my stepfather. My mom’s husband does have a son, but I’ve never met him and I sure don’t think of him as a stepbrother.

  19. I have what is technically a step-nephew – but I just call him my nephew. He is not treated any differently than any other nibling of ours – sometimes we like him better than the rest. (My youngest sister married a widower – the two of them are Jewish and nephew is nominally Lutheran.)

  20. Meryl, I thought for a moment that you had been nibbling on the youngster. Thanks for introducing me to a new (to me) word, nibling.

  21. Some point I noticed that some writers were using “siblings” when concerning children and “sibs” for adults.
    But there is no recognition of that in the Lexico online dictionary, either UK or US version. They give “sibling” without mentioning age, and have a cross-link for “sib” only in the origins section. And in the main entry for “sib” there are definitions marked as specialized for Zoology or Anthropology, and again not restricting for age.

  22. Oh, I forgot what took me there. The dictionary has not caught up with “nibling”.

    https://www.lexico.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&filter=en_dictionary&dictionary=en&query=nibling

    No exact matches found for “nibling”
    Here are the nearest results:

    British & World English Dictionary
    niblick
    sibling
    nirling
    niggling
    bling

    US English Dictionary
    niblick
    sibling
    nirling
    niggling
    bling

    English Thesaurus
    sibling
    nipping
    bumbling
    nestling
    rambling

    And yes, “niblick” is a kind of golf club. But it is “dated” — a marking I did not know about but seems better than “archaic” and “obsolete”.

  23. @ Mitch4 – Older golfers (like my dad) would immediately recognize “niblick” as the former name for what is now called a “9-iron”(*). Other such “venerable” terms include “cleek” (1-iron), “mashie” (5-iron), “brassie” (3-wood), and “spoon” (5-wood). None of these names are in regular use now, but I remember seeing several of them in various “B.C.” strips, back when Hart was doing golf jokes in the 60’s or 70’s. Understandably, the only term my spellchecker recognizes is “spoon”.
    P.S. (*) – I admit that I had to look up a list to get the modern equivalents, but I’ve listed only those names that were “familiar” to me. I played golf on a few occasions (decades ago), but I prefer putt-putt.

  24. P.S. The word surfaced in one of the word-a-day mailings I get. This is not a very scholarly one, so their placing it as mid-20th Century is not accompanied by citations. No matter.

  25. Boise Ed & Mitch4 – A year or so ago it annoyed me that I had to write “my niece and nephews” as I am a very lazy person and the more I thought about it, I thought that there should be a neutral term. Mom and dad = parents, sister and brother = siblings, grandmother and grandfather = grandparents, but there is no (I thought) common word for nieces and nephews or aunts and uncles.

    I thought about niece and nephew (as my aunts and uncles are gone now and I rarely need to mention them) and started thinking what would be a good common word for the two. My logic was that the are children of my siblings and niece and nephew both start with n – so I came up with niblings.

    I then used the term on this site and lo and behold, someone else (I apologize for forgetting who) posted that the term already existed with the same meaning that I assigned to it. So I use whenever I can to promote its use.

    Still no idea of a term for aunt and uncle other than “parents’ siblings” which is as bad as aunt and uncle – hmm, piblings?

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