help

verb
\ ˈhelp How to pronounce help (audio) ; Southern often ˈhep also ˈheəp\
helped; helping; helps

Definition of help

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to give assistance or support to help a child with homework
2a : 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
3a : to be of use to : benefit will do anything to help their cause
b : to further the advancement of : promote could help negotiations
4a : 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
5 : to serve with food or drink especially at a meal told the guests to help themselves
6 : to take something for (oneself) without permission helped himself to the car keys

intransitive verb

1 : to give assistance or support often used with out helps out with the housework
2 : to be of use or benefit every little bit helps
so help me
: upon my word : believe it or not

help

noun

Definition of help (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : aid, assistance trying to be of help
2 : a source of aid printed helps to the memory— C. S. Braden
3 : remedy, relief there was no help for it
4a : one who serves or assists another (as in housework) : helper
b : employee help wanted often used collectively the hired help

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Synonyms & Antonyms for help

Synonyms: Verb

abet, aid, assist, back, backstop, prop (up), support

Synonyms: Noun

abetment, aid, assist, assistance, backing, boost, hand, helping hand, leg up, lift, support

Antonyms: Verb

hinder

Antonyms: Noun

hindrance

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Choose the Right Synonym for help

Verb

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

Examples of help in a Sentence

Verb

Don't blame me: I was only trying to help! Help! Somebody call the police! She took an aspirin to help her headache. Humor often helps a tense situation. It's not much money, but every little bit helps.

Noun

He thanked us for our help. I could use some help with the dishes. We could hear shouts for help coming from the house. He's been more of a hindrance than a help.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Al MacCuish of Sunshine Company in London (which has produced events for Gucci and Victoria Beckham) was responsible for helping the H&M team execute the entire performance, which took over a year of planning. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "I Spent 48 Hours in the Sedona Vortex With H&M Studio and Its New Spring 2019 Collection," 14 Mar. 2019 Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, allegedly agreed to pay bribes of up to $500,000 in exchange for helping their two daughters get into the University of Southern California. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Read Lori Loughlin's Bizarre Wiretapped Phone Conversation With College Admissions Scammer," 13 Mar. 2019 Kimora noted that Baby Phat will shift its focus toward millennials and Gen X customers, a plan that her daughters Ming Lee, 19, and Aoki Lee, 16, will no doubt help execute. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "Kimora Lee Simmons’ Baby Phat Is Relaunching This Summer," 11 Mar. 2019 The inactive ingredients are also often key in helping deliver the active ingredient to your skin (the most common inactive ingredient is water, after all). Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "What Exactly Are 'Actives' in Skin-Care Products?," 8 Mar. 2019 The inspirational message was shared at the end of a four minute speech about WOW and its efforts in helping women and girls achieve their potential. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Watch Camilla Give a Touching Speech About the Potential of Women," 7 Mar. 2019 Harry also presented McHugo with the MBE he was awarded in the New Year’s Honors list 2019, for his services in helping to improve gender equality in education in Morocco. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Stuns in a Bespoke Dior Gown at Evening Reception in Morocco," 24 Feb. 2019 Swennen notes that the wax of a crayon or a banana peel can help unjam a zipper, too. Ana Colón, Glamour, "8 Red Carpet Fashion Hacks Celebrity Stylists Swear By," 18 Jan. 2019 Eventually, though, airline deregulation helped bring about Pan Am’s demise. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "When Pan Am Promised To Fly Us To the Moon," 28 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Rip Cuts: Accurate rip cuts can be made with the help of a rip fence. Tim Layton, Popular Mechanics, "Out Best Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Circular Saw," 14 Mar. 2019 Learn about Elvis's career with the help of hundreds of artifacts and photos from his life. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need to Know About Graceland, Home of Elvis Presley," 14 Mar. 2019 With the help of the camera, the June can recognize up to 65 foods and counting. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Review: The June oven made me want a camera in every cooking device," 22 Dec. 2018 Now, a YouTuber by the name of MyMateVince has figured out a way to get the device working on the Nintendo Switch with the help of a nifty adapter and some software troubleshooting. Nick Statt, The Verge, "YouTuber gets Microsoft’s Adaptive Controller working on the Nintendo Switch," 26 Nov. 2018 So Ben did what any sports-crazed father would do—enlist the help of a few friends to completely transform his son's room into a Patriots paradise. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Jennifer Garner is Creeped Out By This Chair in Her Son’s Room—And So Am I," 15 Feb. 2019 Shackleton and five other men eventually sought help by making an 800-mile open-boat journey to South Georgia. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Antarctic Expedition Hopeful of Finding Ernest Shackleton's Long-Lost Research Vessel," 4 Feb. 2019 Around January 14, 2016, Cohen emailed the office Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary and trusted adviser, seeking help with the tower deal. Alex Ward, Vox, "Why Michael Cohen’s Trump Tower Moscow revelation matters, in under 500 words," 30 Nov. 2018 Plagued by the same PTSD that affects many who have survived war zones, Colvin sometimes disappeared for days, suffering from paranoia, and intermittently sought help in therapy to sort through the images from her work that haunted her. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "The True Story of Marie Colvin, the Foreign Correspondent Who Inspired the Film A Private War," 2 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'help.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of help

Verb

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

Noun

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

History and Etymology for help

Verb and Noun

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

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Learn More about help

Dictionary Entries near help

Helotiales

helotism

Helotium

help

helpable

help desk

helper

Statistics for help

Last Updated

20 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for help

The first known use of help was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for help

help

verb

English Language Learners Definition of help

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

help

noun

English Language Learners Definition of help (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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.

help

verb
\ ˈhelp How to pronounce help (audio) \
helped; helping

Kids Definition of help

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to provide with what is useful in achieving an end
2 : to give relief from pain or disease Did the medicine help?
3 : prevent sense 1 I couldn't help laughing.
4 : serve entry 1 sense 1 Help yourself to more.

Other Words from help

helper \ ˈhel-​pər \ noun

help

noun

Kids Definition of help (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of helping : aid I need your help.
2 : the fact of being useful or helpful She's not much help.
3 : the ability to be helped We are beyond help.
4 : a person or a thing that helps You've been a real help.
5 : a body of hired helpers

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More from Merriam-Webster on help

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with help

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for help

Spanish Central: Translation of help

Nglish: Translation of help for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of help for Arabic Speakers

Comments on help

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