1 of 4

noun (1)

: a lever or wheel controlling the rudder of a ship for steering
broadly : the entire apparatus for steering a ship
: position of the helm with respect to the amidships position
turn the helm hard alee
: a position of control : head
a new dean is at the helm of the medical school


2 of 4

verb (1)

helmed; helming; helms

transitive verb

: to direct (a ship) with a lever or wheel that controls the rudder : to direct (a ship) with or as if with a helm (see helm entry 1 sense 1a) : steer
helming a schooner
: direct, control
the director has helmed many action movies


3 of 4

noun (2)


4 of 4

verb (2)

helmed; helming; helms

transitive verb

: to cover or furnish with a helmet

Examples of helm in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The private equity business recently underwent a leadership change, with Scott Shleifer transitioning to an advisor role in November and founder Chase Coleman retaking the helm. Allie Garfinkle, Fortune, 3 Apr. 2024 As standard, the boat features a central helm with two seats, a forward storage compartment, a large aft bathing platform with a sun pad, and a hardtop for protection from the elements. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 25 Mar. 2024 McConnell's retirement from leadership marks the end of the longest-serving leadership term in Senate history, after 17 years at the party's helm. Kaia Hubbard, CBS News, 28 Feb. 2024 No prominent Democrats have demanded that Biden bow out, but as speculation mounts about his ability to serve, there is bound to be interest in who among them could take the party's helm. Phillip M. Bailey, USA TODAY, 14 Feb. 2024 Under the helm of Grammy-winning producer Sammy Soso, some of Tyla’s vocals are isolated during the middle of the song to create a haunting loop of rhythms and inflections. Thania Garcia, Variety, 22 Mar. 2024 In 2022, the company placed FAIR under the helm of its VR division Reality Labs and last year reassigned some of the group’s researchers to a new generative AI product team. Gerrit De Vynck, Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2024 The team went on to win the tournament under the helm of successor Emerse Faé. Although little known abroad, Gasset has huge experience in France, having spent years at various clubs including Montpellier, Saint-Etienne and Bordeaux. Samuel Petrequin, USA TODAY, 20 Feb. 2024 These two entrepreneurial powerhouses, longtime friends, shared their transformative journeys to the helm of their brands with members of Howard’s Black Girl’s House chapter and students from diverse fields, all eager to forge their own paths. Ruhama Wolle, Glamour, 29 Feb. 2024
The 2023 musical, co-written by Freya Catrin Smith and Jack Williams, is directed at the Globe by Sarah Meadows, who helmed its London premiere. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Apr. 2024 Berlanti helmed the movie from a script by Rose Gilroy, with Bill Kirstein and Keenan Flynn credited for the story. Ryan Gajewski, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Apr. 2024 The play is directed by Jamie Lloyd, who previously helmed Sunset Boulevard, The Effect, and A Doll’s House. Shania Russell, EW.com, 7 Apr. 2024 None other than producer Dave Cobb — who has helmed albums by Jason Isbell, Chris Stapeton John Prine and Brandi Carlile, among many others — helped out at the controls. Jake Harris, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 5 Apr. 2024 James passed away in 2014, but his son Andrew now helms the operation with whisky making overseen by master distiller Ian Henderson. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 29 Mar. 2024 Training Day director Antoine Fuqua will helm the picture, while Oscar nominee John Logan handles the script. Kyle Denis, Billboard, 25 Mar. 2024 Under its subsidiary, Retail AI–helmed by Nagata’s 41-year-old son, Hiroyuki, a graduate of Colorado State University–Trial Holdings also develops Internet of Things (IoT) software and devices. Catherine Wang, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 These mobile teams, typically helmed by paramedics like Blaire, connect people who have overdosed with services aimed at stabilizing them long-term. Lauren Peace, CNN, 27 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'helm.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1) and Verb (1)

Middle English helme, from Old English helma; akin to Old High German helmo tiller

Noun (2) and Verb (2)

Middle English, from Old English

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of helm was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near helm

Cite this Entry

“Helm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/helm. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun


2 of 2 noun
: a lever or wheel controlling the rudder of a ship
also : the steering equipment of a ship
: a position of control : head
at the helm of the business

More from Merriam-Webster on helm

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