Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

help

play
verb \ˈhelp; Southern often ˈhep also ˈheəp\

Simple Definition of help

  • : to do something that makes it easier for someone to do a job, to deal with a problem, etc. : to aid or assist someone

  • : to make something less severe : to make something more pleasant or easier to deal with

  • : to give (yourself or another person) food or drink

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of help

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to give assistance or support to <help a child with homework>

  3. 2 a :  to make more pleasant or bearable :  improve, relieve <bright curtains will help the room> <took an aspirin to help her headache> b archaic :  rescue, save

  4. 3 a :  to be of use to :  benefit b :  to further the advancement of :  promote

  5. 4 a :  to change for the better b :  to refrain from :  avoid <we couldn't help laughing> c :  to keep from occurring :  prevent <they couldn't help the accident> d :  to restrain (oneself) from doing something <knew they shouldn't go but couldn't help themselves>

  6. 5 :  to serve with food or drink especially at a meal <told the guests to help themselves>

  7. 6 :  to appropriate something for (oneself) <helped himself to the car keys>

  8. intransitive verb
  9. 1 :  give assistance or support —often used with out <helps out with the housework>

  10. 2 :  to be of use or benefit

so help me
  1. :  upon my word :  believe it or not

Examples of help in a sentence

  1. Don't blame me: I was only trying to help!

  2. Help! Somebody call the police!

  3. She took an aspirin to help her headache.

  4. Humor often helps a tense situation.

  5. It's not much money, but every little bit helps.



Origin of help

Middle English, from Old English helpan; akin to Old High German helfan to help, and perhaps to Lithuanian šelpti


First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of help

improve, better, help, ameliorate mean to make more acceptable or to bring nearer a standard. improve and better are general and interchangeable and apply to what can be made better whether it is good or bad <measures to further improve the quality of medical care> <immigrants hoping to better their lot>. help implies a bettering that still leaves room for improvement <a coat of paint would help that house>. ameliorate implies making more tolerable or acceptable conditions that are hard to endure <tried to ameliorate the lives of people in the tenements>.

Rhymes with help


2

help

noun

Simple Definition of help

  • : activities or efforts that make it easier to do a job, deal with a problem, etc.

  • : something (such as money or advice) that is given to someone who needs it

  • : someone or something that makes it easier to do a job, deal with a problem, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of help

  1. 1 :  aid, assistance

  2. 2 :  a source of aid <printed helps to the memory — C. S. Braden>

  3. 3 :  remedy, relief <there was no help for it>

  4. 4 a :  one who serves or assists another (as in housework) :  helper b :  employee <help wanted> —often used collectively <the hired help>

Examples of help in a sentence

  1. He thanked us for our help.

  2. I could use some help with the dishes.

  3. We could hear shouts for help coming from the house.

  4. He's been more of a hindrance than a help.



Before 12th Century

First Known Use of help

before 12th century



HELP Defined for Kids

1

help

play
verb \ˈhelp\

Definition of help for Students

helpedhelping

  1. 1 :  to provide with what is useful in achieving an end

  2. 2 :  to give relief from pain or disease <Did the medicine help?>

  3. 3 :  prevent 1 <I couldn't help laughing.>

  4. 4 :  1serve 1 <Help yourself to more.>

helper \ˈhel-pər\ noun



2

help

play
noun

Definition of help for Students

  1. 1 :  an act or instance of helping :  aid <I need your help.>

  2. 2 :  the fact of being useful or helpful <She's not much help.>

  3. 3 :  the ability to be helped <We are beyond help.>

  4. 4 :  a person or a thing that helps <You've been a real help.>

  5. 5 :  a body of hired helpers





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up help? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to expose to danger or risk

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ