verb (used with object)
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.
verb (used without object)
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.)
Verb phrases
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.

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

helpable, adjective
underhelp, noun
unhelpable, adjective
unhelped, adjective
well-helped, adjective

1. encourage, befriend; support, second, uphold, back, abet. 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. 3. further, promote, foster. 6. ameliorate. 7. alleviate, cure, heal. 12. support, backing.

3, 11. hinder. 7. afflict. 13. hindrance.

21. Help but, in sentences like She's so clever you can't help but admire her, has been condemned by some as the ungrammatical version of cannot help admiring her, but the idiom is common in all kinds of speech and writing and can only be characterized as standard. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
help (hɛlp)
vb (foll by to)
1.  to assist or aid (someone to do something), esp by sharing the work, cost, or burden of something: he helped his friend to escape; she helped him climb out of the boat
2.  to alleviate the burden of (someone else) by giving assistance
3.  (tr) to assist (a person) to go in a specified direction: help the old lady up from the chair
4.  to promote or contribute to: to help the relief operations
5.  to cause improvement in (a situation, person, etc): crying won't help
6.  (tr; preceded by can, could, etc; usually used with a negative)
 a.  to avoid or refrain from: we can't help wondering who he is
 b.  (usually foll by it) to prevent or be responsible for: I can't help it if it rains
7.  to alleviate (an illness, etc)
8.  (tr) to serve (a customer): can I help you, madam?
9.  a.  to serve (someone with food, etc) (usually in the phrase help oneself): may I help you to some more vegetables?; help yourself to peas
 b.  to provide (oneself with) without permission: he's been helping himself to money out of the petty cash
10.  cannot help but to be unable to do anything else except: I cannot help but laugh
11.  help a person off with to assist a person in the removal of (clothes)
12.  help a person on with to assist a person in the putting on of (clothes)
13.  so help me
 a.  on my honour
 b.  no matter what: so help me, I'll get revenge
14.  the act of helping, or being helped, or a person or thing that helps: she's a great help
15.  a helping
16.  a.  a person hired for a job; employee, esp a farm worker or domestic servant
 b.  (functioning as singular) several employees collectively
17.  a means of remedy: there's no help for it
18.  used to ask for assistance
[Old English helpan; related to Old Norse hjalpa, Gothic hilpan, Old High German helfan]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. helpan (class III strong verb; past tense healp, pp. holpen), from P.Gmc. *khelpanan (cf. O.N. hjalpa, O.Fris. helpa, Du. helpen, Ger. helfen), from PIE base *kelb-/*kelp- "to help" (cf. Lith. selpiu "to support, help"). Sense of "serve someone with food at table" (1688) is translated from Fr. servir
"to help, stead, avail," and led to helping "portion of food" (1824). Use of help as euphemism for "servant" is Amer.Eng., 1645, 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].
The M.E. pp. holpen survives in biblical and U.S. dial. use.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

HELP definition

1. DEA. A Language for industrial robots.
2. (Help Est un Lisp Paresseux - Help Is a Lazy Lisp). A lazy version of Scheme with strictness annotations, by Thomas Schiex .

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
Health Education Library for People
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with help, also see can't help but; every little bit helps; not if one can help it; so help me.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
This eloquent inquiry into how humans help or do not help one another ranges
  widely in philosophical issues.
Glaciers can help mountains grow by shielding them from erosion.
As the lead designer, my job is to help make sure the game is fun.
As a leader, there's a real temptation to try to change people or help people
  get to where you want them to go.
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
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