helpless

adjective
help·​less | \ ˈhel-pləs How to pronounce helpless (audio) ; Southern often ˈhep-ləs also ˈheəp- \

Definition of helpless

1 : lacking protection or support : defenseless as helpless as a flock of shepherdless sheep— W. H. Mallock
2a : 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

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Other Words from helpless

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The pandemic has made many people feel helpless, says Rev. Mark Feldmeir. Clare Ansberry, WSJ, "How to Help Others During This Holiday Season," 15 Dec. 2020 The path to beating the coronavirus was clear, but Kelley Vollmar had never felt so helpless. New York Times, "One Year, 400,000 Coronavirus Deaths: How the U.S. Guaranteed Its Own Failure," 17 Jan. 2021 Several other rioters then joined McCaughey, pushing their weight against the helpless officer. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Riot suspect charged in 'vicious' officer assault; suspects rounded up as Biden sworn in at Capitol," 21 Jan. 2021 After mangling New York’s helpless frontline in the first half, the Knicks tried to adjust, sending more double teams in hopes of getting the ball out of his hands. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Can Cleveland Cavaliers truly afford to trade Andre Drummond?," 16 Jan. 2021 But container ships can take six weeks to bring wine from Europe to the West Coast, meaning that many importers already had shipments under way and were helpless to avoid the new costs. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "A new wine tariff could make French wines 25% more expensive in the Bay Area," 12 Jan. 2021 They have been forced to watch, helpless, as the price has risen and fallen sharply, unable to cash in on their digital wealth. New York Times, "Lost Passwords Lock Millionaires Out of Their Bitcoin Fortunes," 12 Jan. 2021 Following neo-Fascists from one platform to another, some have said, is an inevitably helpless game of catch-up. Jake Coyle, Star Tribune, "A theater of propaganda: The Capitol, cameras and selfies," 11 Jan. 2021 For Ed, the search for Charlie came at a time when many people were feeling helpless. M.l. Elrick, Detroit Free Press, "Grosse Pointe Park dog was lost in middle of pandemic. Pizza and a lawn sign saved him.," 28 Dec. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of helpless

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

History and Etymology for helpless

see help entry 1

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Time Traveler for helpless

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for helpless

Last Updated

21 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Helpless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/helpless. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for helpless

helpless

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of helpless

: 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

adjective
help·​less | \ ˈhelp-ləs How to pronounce helpless (audio) \

Kids Definition of helpless

: without help or defense a helpless infant

Other Words from helpless

helplessly adverb
helplessness noun

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Comments on helpless

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