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helm

1
[helm]
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noun
  1. Nautical.
    1. a wheel or tiller by which a ship is steered.
    2. the entire steering apparatus of a ship.
    3. the angle with the fore-and-aft line made by a rudder when turned: 15-degree helm.
  2. the place or post of control: A stern taskmaster was at the helm of the company.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to steer; direct.
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Origin of helm

1
before 900; Middle English helme, Old English helma; cognate with Middle High German halme, helm handle, Old Norse hjalm rudder
Related formshelm·less, adjective

helm

2
[helm]
noun
  1. Also heaume. Also called great helm. a medieval helmet, typically formed as a single cylindrical piece with a flat or raised top, completely enclosing the head.
  2. Archaic. a helmet.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to furnish or cover with a helmet.
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Origin of helm

2
before 900; Middle English, Old English; cognate with Dutch, German helm; akin to Old English helan to cover. See hull1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for helm

control, leadership, command, rudder, tiller

Examples from the Web for helm

Contemporary Examples of helm

Historical Examples of helm

  • All this time I kept shouting to the man at the wheel to put his helm "hard down."

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • I managed to get the helm hard up, and Mallet jumped inboard.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • I happened to be at the helm, and remained in the Mary and Susan.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • I then proposed we should clamber aft, and try to get the helm up.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • At this time the brig minded her helm, and fell off, coming under command.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper


British Dictionary definitions for helm

helm

1
noun
  1. nautical
    1. the wheel, tiller, or entire apparatus by which a vessel is steered
    2. the position of the helm: that is, on the side of the keel opposite from that of the rudder
  2. a position of leadership or control (esp in the phrase at the helm)
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verb
  1. (tr) to direct or steer
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Derived Formshelmless, adjective

Word Origin for helm

Old English helma; related to Old Norse hjalm rudder, Old High German halmo

helm

2
noun
  1. an archaic or poetic word for helmet
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verb
  1. (tr) archaic, or poetic to supply with a helmet
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Word Origin for helm

Old English helm; related to helan to cover, Old Norse hjalmr, Gothic hilms, Old High German helm helmet, Sanskrit śárman protection
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for helm

n.1

"handle of a tiller," late 13c., from Old English helma "rudder; position of guidance, control," from Proto-Germanic *halbma- (cf. Old Norse hjalm, Old High German helmo, German Helm "handle"), from PIE *kelp- "to hold, grasp" (see helve).

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n.2

"a helmet," c.1200, from Old English helm "protection, covering; crown, helmet," and perhaps also from cognate Old Norse hjalmr, from Proto-Germanic *helmaz "protective covering," from PIE *kel- "to cover, to hide" (see cell). Italian elmo, Spanish yelmo are from Germanic.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with helm

helm

see at the helm.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.