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How do you differentiate between half-sister (you share one parent) and stepsister (no blood relation)?

I've seen both translated as une demi-sœur.

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For those unfamiliar with stepfamily (me, to start with), the “no blood” relation is due to remariage : one parent remaries with someone already having children — these are them. –  Nikana Reklawyks Nov 16 '12 at 9:31
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up vote 8 down vote accepted

I use to translate stepfamilly by famille par alliance, so I think you could use something like une soeur par alliance to translate stepsister.

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Wikipedia seems to agree with the term une sœur par alliance. An alternative given: une quasi-sœur. It also mentions that the term une demi-sœur is sometimes used, but is incorrect. –  Mike M. Lin Jun 3 '12 at 2:56
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Simply put there is no such thing as a "stepsibling" in French kinship terms. More accurately, if demi-soeur/frère is used that way (like we use beau-père/belle-mère for both stepparents and in-laws), I do not know of it.

I'm sure people who HAVE stepsiblings (it just so happen that I only have a half-sister and do not know people with stepsiblings) have strategies to discuss it. Myself I usually say I have two sisters, THEN specify one is a half-sister, since I consider both my sisters (from an interpersonal point of view, not a genealogical one).

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Most people who share affection with their step-sibling will consider them as their demi-frère/soeur and employ this term, myself included. However, the problem lies in the bounds within the family.

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half-sister : demi-soeur

stepsister : belle-soeur

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Belle-sœur is only used for sisters-in-law. –  Stéphane Gimenez Jul 21 '12 at 19:23
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