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.
, 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.
means of remedying, stopping, or preventing: The thing is done, and there is no help for it now.
Verb phrases 19.
(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.
22. help oneself to, a.
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: Related forms
before 900; Middle English helpen, Old English helpan; cognate with German helfen
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.