- to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need; contribute strength or means to; render assistance to; cooperate effectively with; aid; assist: He planned to help me with my work. Let me help you with those packages.
- to save; rescue; succor: Help me, I'm falling!
- to make easier or less difficult; contribute to; facilitate: The exercise of restraint is certain to help the achievement of peace.
- to be useful or profitable to: Her quick mind helped her career.
- to refrain from; avoid (usually preceded by can or cannot): He can't help doing it.
- to relieve or break the uniformity of: Small patches of bright color can help an otherwise dull interior.
- to relieve (someone) in need, sickness, pain, or distress.
- to remedy, stop, or prevent: Nothing will help my headache.
- to serve food to at table (usually followed by to): Help her to salad.
- to serve or wait on (a customer), as in a store.
- to give aid; be of service or advantage: Every little bit helps.
- the act of helping; aid or assistance; relief or succor.
- a person or thing that helps: She certainly is a help in an emergency.
- a hired helper; employee.
- a body of such helpers.
- a domestic servant or a farm laborer.
- means of remedying, stopping, or preventing: The thing is done, and there is no help for it now.
- Older Use. helping(def 2).
- (used as an exclamation to call for assistance or to attract attention.)
- help out, to assist in an effort; be of aid to: Her relatives helped out when she became ill.
- cannot/can't help but, to be unable to refrain from or avoid; be obliged to: Still, you can't help but admire her.
- help oneself to,
- to serve oneself; take a portion of: Help yourself to the cake.
- to take or use without asking permission; appropriate: They helped themselves to the farmer's apples. Help yourself to any of the books we're giving away.
- so help me, (used as a mild form of the oath “so help me God”) I am speaking the truth; on my honor: That's exactly what happened, so help me.
Origin of help
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for helped
Being something of a political cipher may have helped Revels rise to prominence.The Black Man Who Replaced Jefferson Davis in the Senate
January 7, 2015
Investigators will focus on whether the sudden emergency was so extreme that no degree of pilot skill would have helped.Flight 8501 Poses Question: Are Modern Jets Too Automated to Fly?
January 4, 2015
But Scott, in taking the parlance of the street to the SportsCenter desk, helped affirm its ascendance.Remembering ESPN’s Sly, Cocky, and Cool Anchor Stuart Scott
January 4, 2015
Another set of hackers that goes by the name the Lizard Squad told the Washington Post that they helped with the Sony hack.U.S. Spies Say They Tracked ‘Sony Hackers’ For Years
January 2, 2015
I told them the story about how Delta helped her propose to me in the middle of the international terminal here at Delta.
She helped Geta to escape: they have both taken refuge in the Temple of Theseus.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
Stephen caught the bridle, and Ambrose helped the burgess into the saddle.The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
She found a friend in a white lady, who knew her story and helped her on her way.Harriet, The Moses of Her People
Sarah H. Bradford
You could have helped me and she wouldn't have said a word to Miss Wilder.Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
You might have helped me to a phrase—A conditional kind of liking!Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
- to assist or aid (someone to do something), esp by sharing the work, cost, or burden of somethinghe helped his friend to escape; she helped him climb out of the boat
- to alleviate the burden of (someone else) by giving assistance
- (tr) to assist (a person) to go in a specified directionhelp the old lady up from the chair
- to promote or contribute toto help the relief operations
- to cause improvement in (a situation, person, etc)crying won't help
- (tr; preceded by can, could, etc; usually used with a negative)
- to avoid or refrain fromwe can't help wondering who he is
- (usually foll by it)to prevent or be responsible forI can't help it if it rains
- to alleviate (an illness, etc)
- (tr) to serve (a customer)can I help you, madam?
- (tr foll by to)
- to serve (someone with food, etc) (usually in the phrase help oneself)may I help you to some more vegetables?; help yourself to peas
- to provide (oneself with) without permissionhe's been helping himself to money out of the petty cash
- cannot help but to be unable to do anything else exceptI cannot help but laugh
- help a person off with to assist a person in the removal of (clothes)
- help a person on with to assist a person in the putting on of (clothes)
- so help me
- on my honour
- no matter whatso help me, I'll get revenge
- the act of helping, or being helped, or a person or thing that helpsshe's a great help
- a helping
- a person hired for a job; employee, esp a farm worker or domestic servant
- (functioning as singular)several employees collectively
- a means of remedythere's no help for it
- used to ask for assistance
Word Origin and History for helped
Old English help (m.), helpe (f.) "assistance, succor;" see help (v.). Most Germanic languages also have the noun form, cf. Old Norse hjalp, Swedish hjälp, Old Frisian helpe, Dutch hulp, Old High German helfa, German Hilfe. Use of help as euphemism for "servant" is American English, 1640s, tied up in notions of class and race.
A domestic servant of American birth, and without negro blood in his or her veins ... is not a servant, but a 'help.' 'Help wanted,' is the common heading of advertisements in the North, when servants are required. [Chas. Mackay, "Life and Liberty in America," 1859].
Though help also meant "assistant, helper, supporter" in Middle English (c.1200).
Old English helpan (class III strong verb; past tense healp, past participle holpen) "help, support, succor; benefit, do good to; cure, amend," from Proto-Germanic *helpan (cf. Old Norse hjalpa, Old Frisian helpa, Middle Dutch and Dutch helpen, Old High German helfan, German helfen), from PIE root *kelb- "to help" (cf. Lithuanian selpiu "to support, help").
Recorded as a cry of distress from late 14c. Sense of "serve someone with food at table" (1680s) is translated from French servir "to help, stead, avail," and led to helping "portion of food." Related: Helped (c.1300). The Middle English past participle holpen survives in biblical and U.S. dialectal use.