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See more synonyms for helpless on Thesaurus.com
  1. unable to help oneself; weak or dependent: a helpless invalid.
  2. deprived of strength or power; powerless; incapacitated: They were helpless with laughter.
  3. affording no help.
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Origin of helpless

Middle English word dating back to 1125–75; see origin at help, -less
Related formshelp·less·ly, adverbhelp·less·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for helplessly

weakly, dependent, destitute, forlorn, forsaken, involuntarily, perforce, willy-nilly, feebly

Examples from the Web for helplessly

Contemporary Examples of helplessly

Historical Examples of helplessly

British Dictionary definitions for helplessly


  1. unable to manage independently
  2. made powerless or weakthey were helpless from so much giggling
  3. without help
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Derived Formshelplessly, adverbhelplessness, noun
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 helplessly



"unable to act for oneself," c.1200, from help (n.) + -less. Related: Helplessly; helplessness. In Middle English and later sometimes also "unable to give help, affording no help" (late 14c.), but this was never common.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper