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With red hair being rare, a child born to non red headed parents was often assumed to be the child of an affair. Thus was treated badly, usually in the form of beatings.
I'll beat you like a red headed stepchild.
by Little Red Knitter January 28, 2009
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A person or group treated without the favor of birthright.
The boss treats this department like his red headed stepchildren.
by Tim September 13, 2004
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A stepchild might be singled out for abuse. But a red-headed stepchild (who presumably looks like his or her absent birth-parent) might be abused even more because he or she is so obviously different from the other children.
Myles was the red-head step child of the family, he was never invited to the family reunions.
by Laura Hall January 07, 2004
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Applied to one who does not fit in and is shunned for the differences and/or is bullied at a high degree
By marrying his daughter, Woody Allen was considered to be the red-headed stepchild of Hollywood.
by Big Mike October 31, 2004
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an unwanted, (ashamed of) child. Less than desired child
Mike was the red headed step child of the family, treated pretty shabbily.
by Laura Hall January 07, 2004
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In business, this is a product, remote office, employee, etc., who doesn't get respect. The moniker stems from the popular slang phrase "beat you like a red-headed stepchild." Often times, the disrespect is undeserved.

If a product is an embarrassment to a company, it is the company's red-headed stepchild.
The satellite office was outperforming the head office statistically, but because it created work for people in the head office, it was treated like a red-headed stepchild.

Because the Edsel didn't sell well, it became Ford's red-headed stepchild.
by Glenwood October 01, 2006
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