WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2020
help /hɛlp/USA pronunciation   v. 
  1. to provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need;
    assist: [+ object]He said he'd help me with my work.[+ object (+ to) + root form of verb]We helped him (to) get settled in.[~ (+ to) + root form of verb]I helped (to) carry the groceries.[no object]I hope this money will help.
  2. to save;
    rescue:[+ object]Help me, I'm falling!
  3. to be useful or profitable to:[+ object]Your knowledge of languages will help you in your career.
  4. cannot or can't help: 
    • stop oneself from: [+ it]I can't help it if I sneezed.[+ verb-ing]I can't help teasing him about it.[+ but + root form of verb]You can't help but admire her.
    • [+ object;  usually: be + helped] to prevent or stop:The disagreement could not be helped.
  5. to (cause to) bring about improvement: [+ object]A new rug might help the room.[no object]I've tried those aspirins, but it doesn't help.
  6. Idioms
    • to serve oneself with: [+ oneself]Do you want some cake? Help yourself.[+ oneself + to + object]Help yourself to the cake.
    • [+ oneself + to + object] to take or use:She helped herself to the pencils on my desk.
    • [+ oneself + to + object] to take or use without asking permission:just helped himself to whatever money had been left around.
  7. to wait on (a customer):[+ object]"How may I help you?'' asked the salesclerk.
  8. help out, to assist during a time of need: [no object]Maybe this money will help out a little.[+ object + out]Can't you help him out?[+ out + object]She helps out everyone who comes to her.

  1. aid;
    assistance:[uncountable]If she needs help, tell her to call me.
  2. a person or thing that helps:[countable]You were a tremendous help after the fire.
  3. assistants or employees when thought of as a group:[uncountable]hired new help at the shop.
  4. a means of dealing with something:[uncountable]There is no help for the problem now.

  1. The word is used to call for assistance or to attract attention:"Help!'' she called, "I can't get up.''
  1. Idiomsso help me (God), I am speaking the truth;
    on my honor.

help•er, n. [countable]
    See cannot.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
help  (help),USA pronunciation v.t., 
  1. 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;
    assist:He planned to help me with my work. Let me help you with those packages.
  2. to save;
    succor:Help me, I'm falling!
  3. to make easier or less difficult;
    contribute to;
    facilitate:The exercise of restraint is certain to help the achievement of peace.
  4. to be useful or profitable to:Her quick mind helped her career.
  5. to refrain from;
    avoid (usually prec. by can or cannot):He can't help doing it.
  6. to relieve or break the uniformity of:Small patches of bright color can help an otherwise dull interior.
  7. to relieve (someone) in need, sickness, pain, or distress.
  8. to remedy, stop, or prevent:Nothing will help my headache.
  9. to serve food to at table (usually fol. by to):Help her to salad.
  10. to serve or wait on (a customer), as in a store.

  1. to give aid;
    be of service or advantage:Every little bit helps.
  2. Idiomscannot or  can't help but, to be unable to refrain from or avoid;
    be obliged to:Still, you can't help but admire her.
  3. Idiomshelp 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.
  4. help out, to assist in an effort;
    be of aid to:Her relatives helped out when she became ill.
  5. Idiomsso 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.

  1. the act of helping;
    aid or assistance;
    relief or succor.
  2. a person or thing that helps:She certainly is a help in an emergency.
  3. a hired helper;
  4. a body of such helpers.
  5. a domestic servant or a farm laborer.
  6. means of remedying, stopping, or preventing:The thing is done, and there is no help for it now.
  7. Slang Terms[Older Use.]helping (def. 2).

  1. (used as an exclamation to call for assistance or to attract attention.)
helpa•ble, adj. 
  • bef. 900; Middle English helpen, Old English helpan; cognate with German helfen
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged encourage, befriend;
      support, second, uphold, back, abet.
      Help, aid, assist, succor agree in the idea of furnishing another with something needed, esp. 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 esp. 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.See corresponding entry in Unabridged further, promote, foster.
    • 6.See corresponding entry in Unabridged ameliorate.
    • 7.See corresponding entry in Unabridged alleviate, cure, heal.
    • 16.See corresponding entry in Unabridged support, backing.
    • 3, 11.See corresponding entry in Unabridged hinder.
    • 7.See corresponding entry in Unabridged afflict.
    • 17.See corresponding entry in Unabridged hindrance.
    12. 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.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
help /hɛlp/ vb
  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. (transitive) 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) to avoid or refrain from: we can't help wondering who he is
  7. (usually followed by it) to prevent or be responsible for: I can't help it if it rains
  8. to alleviate (an illness, etc)
  9. (transitive) to serve (a customer): can I help you, madam?
  10. (transitive) followed 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
  11. to provide (oneself with) without permission: he's been helping himself to money out of the petty cash
  12. cannot help butto be unable to do anything else except: I cannot help but laugh
  13. help a person off withto assist a person in the removal of (clothes)
  14. help a person on withto assist a person in the putting on of (clothes)
  15. so help meon my honour
  16. no matter what: so help me, I'll get revenge
  1. the act of helping, or being helped, or a person or thing that helps: she's a great help
  2. a helping
  3. a person hired for a job; employee, esp a farm worker or domestic servant
  4. (functioning as singular) several employees collectively
  5. a means of remedy: there's no help for it
  1. used to ask for assistance

See also help outEtymology: Old English helpan; related to Old Norse hjalpa, Gothic hilpan, Old High German helfan

ˈhelpable adj ˈhelper n
'so help me' also found in these entries:

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