helpless

adjective

help·​less ˈhel-pləs How to pronounce helpless (audio)
 Southern often  ˈhep-ləs,
 also  ˈheəp-
1
: lacking protection or support : defenseless
as helpless as a flock of shepherdless sheepW. H. Mallock
2
a
: marked by an inability to act or react
the crowd looked on in helpless horrorCurrent Biography
b
: not able to be controlled or restrained
helpless laughter
helplessly adverb
helplessness noun

Examples of helpless in a Sentence

The civilians were helpless against their attackers. Firefighters were helpless against the blaze. I feel helpless. Isn't there anything I can do? The crowd was helpless with laughter. He was helpless with rage.
Recent Examples on the Web The slightly newer legends of Persia—the region now known as Iran—employ dragons in a more familiar way: as earthly monsters cut down by humans, often in service of helpless girls. Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 July 2024 In a tragically helpless position, the mother points to Prince Jaehaerys. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 17 June 2024 Art isn't like chess, where the brute force of machine learning efficiency has made even the best human players relatively helpless. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 13 June 2024 Any of these tourist ships caught in the area at the wrong time would be helpless to capsize. Bradley Brownell / Jalopnik, Quartz, 11 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for helpless 

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

Word History

Etymology

see help entry 1

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near helpless

Cite this Entry

“Helpless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/helpless. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

helpless

adjective
help·​less ˈhel-pləs How to pronounce helpless (audio)
1
: being without defense
2
helplessly adverb
helplessness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on helpless

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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