step father or father-in-law ?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    I've just finished a book by a history professor in the U.K. about the rise of Henry VII. (My question has nothing to do with the history, but use of language). Time is 1483.

    Henry is the son of Margaret Beaufort (and Edmond Tudor, deceased).
    Margaret is now married to Thomas Stanley.
    Lord Strange is the son of Thomas Stanley (by a previous marriage).

    In the book, Thomas Stanley is called Henry's father-in-law and Lord Strange is called Henry's brother-in-law.
    The terms I would use are stepfather and stepbrother.

    Is there an alternate usage in the U.K.?
     
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Dictionary.com says that in the past, the term mother-in-law was indeed used that way.
     
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  5. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    The book was written in 2013. I sent an e-mail to the author asking him why he used the archaic terms.
     
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    The Easy (Lazy) Way

    This is one of the occasions when I run with the decay of the English language in the twenty-first century. What is my stepmother to a potential spouse? The chick who inexplicably married my dad.

    And with this twenty-first century push toward androgyny, that means she's just, "Dude".
     
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    She would most likely be called her mother-in-law IF everyone gets along nicely AND you do not have another lady in the family who could be called by the same name and is an active member of your family, e.g., your birth mother. Otherwise she'd probably call her "Tiassa's stepmother."
     

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