help·​ful | \ ˈhelp-fəl How to pronounce helpful (audio) ; 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 How to pronounce helpfully (audio) \ adverb
helpfulness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for helpful


conducive, facilitative, useful


unhelpful, useless

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Examples of helpful in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

There are those familiar with these negotiations happening on gun legislation and expanded background checks, who are acknowledging, that was simply not helpful. NBC News, "Meet the Press - September 15, 2019," 15 Sep. 2019 And Thursday night his voice was hoarse, not helpful on a night when both Biden and Warren brought their full energy. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Which Democrat won? A debate expert grades the performances," 13 Sep. 2019 This is not helpful to the authorities or to the animal. Cyndi Schramm, Houston Chronicle, "Reports of loose monkey in Santa Fe prompts search by animal control officers," 10 Sep. 2019 Over-the-counter decongestants can also be helpful, but Dr. Marshall says they should not be used for more than three days because some products can exacerbate congestion and raise patients blood pressure and heart rate. Tammy Worth,, "Is It a Sinus Infection or a Cold? Here's How to Tell the Difference," 10 Sep. 2019 These help to identify where and how neuroscience can and can’t be helpful. Eryn Brown, Scientific American, "Is “Neurolaw” Coming Soon to a Courtroom Near You?," 7 Sep. 2019 Everyone processes loss and grief in their own way, and even though a person may need space, having people to turn to who can listen and be there for you through the grieving process can be helpful. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Gigi and Bella Hadid Paid Tribute to Their Grandmother with Touching Instagram Posts," 1 Sep. 2019 Trying to scare children by warning them about potential medical problems isn’t helpful either. Candice Choi,, "As with adults, no easy way to address weight with children," 30 Aug. 2019 Upgrade of mobile networks from 2G to 4G in large parts of the country has also been helpful, the Trai report said. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "Powered by 4G, mobile data consumption in India rose 56-fold in four years," 22 Aug. 2019

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

5 Oct 2019

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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 How to pronounce helpful (audio) \

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 fake an opponent out of position

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