helpless

adjective help·less \ ˈhel-pləs ; Southern often ˈhep-ləs also ˈheəp- \
Updated on: 17 Nov 2017

Definition of helpless

1 :lacking protection or support :defenseless
  • as helpless as a flock of shepherdless sheep
  • —W. H. Mallock
2 a :marked by an inability to act or react
  • the crowd looked on in helpless horror
  • Current Biography
b :not able to be controlled or restrained
  • helpless laughter

helplessly

adverb

helplessness

noun

Examples of helpless in a Sentence

  1. The civilians were helpless against their attackers.

  2. Firefighters were helpless against the blaze.

  3. I feel helpless. Isn't there anything I can do?

  4. The crowd was helpless with laughter.

  5. He was helpless with rage.

Recent Examples of helpless from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of helpless

see 1help


HELPLESS Defined for English Language Learners

helpless

adjective

Definition of helpless for English Language Learners

  • : not protected : not able to defend yourself

  • : unable to do something to make a situation, task, etc., better or easier

  • : not able to be controlled


HELPLESS Defined for Kids

helpless

adjective help·less \ ˈhelp-ləs \

Definition of helpless for Students

:without help or defense
  • a helpless infant

helplessly

adverb

helplessness

noun


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