help·​ful | \ˈhelp-fəl; Southern often ˈhep- also ˈheəp-\

Definition of helpful 

: of service or assistance : useful a helpful neighbor helpful advice just trying to be helpful

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Other Words from helpful

helpfully \ˈhelp-​fə-​lē \ adverb
helpfulness noun

Examples of helpful in a Sentence

A helpful neighbor shoveled our walkway. a kind and helpful person

Recent Examples on the Web

In low-stakes form, Tay was supposed to exhibit one of the most important features of true A.I.—the ability to get smarter, more effective, and more helpful over time. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Unmasking A.I.'s Bias Problem," 25 June 2018 Now that there are nearly 10 different programs that can certify California wineries’ or vineyards’ environmental practices, is this helpful for consumers, or just too confusing? Esther Mobley,, "The rebranding of organic wine," 28 June 2018 Many of these people [resignations] are very talented and helpful for an experienced mayor. Jason Johnson, The Root, "It’s Been 100 Days and Atlanta’s Still Got a Mayor Named Keisha," 12 June 2018 So running, walking, elliptical, cycling — anything that’s going to improve blood flow to the uterus is going to be very helpful. Shanelle Drakeford, Allure, "How to Alleviate Period Cramps, According to Doctors," 8 July 2018 Enlisting the help of professional identity theft protections agencies can be very helpful, Levin said. Edward Mckinley, kansascity, "Facebook stonewalls Kansas scam victim when she reaches out for help," 12 June 2018 Here are helpful safety tips from the APA: Supervise children under the age of 12. Sarah Brookbank,, "Fourth of July: How to keep kids safe when using sparklers," 4 July 2018 At the end of each conversation, get suggestions for other colleagues who might be helpful to talk to. Michelle Goodman, The Seattle Times, "New on the job? How to get over imposter syndrome," 25 June 2018 While some find the child abuse claim helpful in solving the mystery that was Whitney Houston, others, like her mother Cissy and Dee Dee’s sister Dionne Warwick, find the allegations in the film painful, exploitative and hard to believe. Janine Rubenstein,, "Whitney Houston's Mother Expresses 'Horror' Over Claims Singer Was Molested by Dee Dee Warwick," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'helpful.' 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 helpful

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for helpful

see help entry 1

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Statistics for helpful

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for helpful

The first known use of helpful was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for helpful



English Language Learners Definition of helpful

: making it easier to do a job, deal with a problem, etc. : giving help

: willing to help other people


help·​ful | \ˈhelp-fəl \

Kids Definition of helpful

: providing help a helpful idea

Other Words from helpful

helpfully \-​fə-​lē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on helpful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for helpful

Spanish Central: Translation of helpful

Nglish: Translation of helpful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of helpful for Arabic Speakers

Comments on helpful

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


to enclose within walls

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