- 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 for help on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for help
That strategy has been used in some cases to help determine GMO policy.Anti-Fluoriders Are The OG Anti-Vaxxers
July 27, 2016
In the end, the clarity that comes from moments of horror can help us recommit to deeper principles.Why We Stand With Charlie Hebdo—And You Should Too
January 8, 2015
A Wall Street person should not be allowed to help oversee the Dodd-Frank reforms.Antonio Weiss Is Not Part of the Problem
January 7, 2015
Finding the common bonds that help us realize that we have far more in common than that which separates us.In 2015, Let’s Try for More Compassion
January 4, 2015
Many hold classes in their living rooms, asking students to help re-arrange and then later put back furniture.Iran’s Becoming a Footloose Nation as Dance Lessons Spread
January 2, 2015
That you will take tea with us to-morrow evening, and help us do justice to them.
"I hear they do have dreadful times with help in New York," said Mrs. Bines.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
I had a warm regard for your father, and shall be glad to help your mother if there is any occasion.
What was quite as important, he seemed disposed to help him.
I have been thinking about that day, wondering what I could do to help you.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
- 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 help
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.
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).
Idioms and Phrases with help
In addition to the idioms beginning with help
- helping hand
- help oneself
- help out
- can't help but
- every little bit helps
- not if one can help it
- so help me