Idioms for help

Origin of help

First recorded before 900; Middle English helpen, Old English helpan; cognate with German helfen

synonym study for help

1. Help, aid, assist, succor agree in the idea of furnishing another with something needed, especially when the need comes at a particular time. Help implies furnishing anything that furthers one's efforts or relieves one's wants or necessities. Aid and assist, somewhat more formal, imply especially a furthering or seconding of another's efforts. Aid implies a more active helping; assist implies less need and less help. To succor, still more formal and literary, is to give timely help and relief in difficulty or distress: Succor him in his hour of need.

usage note for help

21. Cannot/can't help but has been condemned by some as the ungrammatical version of cannot/can’t help followed by the present participle: You can’t help but admire her. You can’t help admiring her. However, the idiom Cannot/can't help but is so common in all types of speech and writing that it must be characterized as standard.

OTHER WORDS FROM help Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for help

British Dictionary definitions for help

/ (hɛlp) /




used to ask for assistance
See also help out

Derived forms of help

helpable, adjectivehelper, noun

Word Origin for help

Old English helpan; related to Old Norse hjalpa, Gothic hilpan, Old High German helfan
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

Idioms and Phrases with help


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