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 And yet, your letter has a whiff of helpless inertia about it. Karla L. Miller, Washington Post, "Trapped by the pandemic in a job that was supposed to be short-term," 30 July 2020 O’Ward, helpless to defend, finished 2.8699 seconds behind in the second half of the REV Group Grand Prix after leading 43 of 55 laps from the pole. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Felix Rosenqvist scores his first IndyCar win in an exciting finish to the Road America doubleheader," 12 July 2020 O’Ward, helpless to defend, finished 2.8699 seconds behind in the second half of the REV Group Grand Prix after leading 43 of 55 laps from the pole. Dave Kallmann, The Indianapolis Star, "Felix Rosenqvist earns first IndyCar victory by outdueling Pato O'Ward," 12 July 2020 Lin said the lack of a treatment left him feeling similarly helpless at times in New York. Eric Levenson, CNN, "These California doctors flew to New York to fight Covid-19. Here's what they learned.," 11 July 2020 This is what many parents have had to endure alone in Canada, with their children feeling helpless and hopeless across the border. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Our parents are sick and dying, but Canada won't let us in," 1 July 2020 As the outbreak spread through Ludeman, Neil felt as helpless as on the day his family dropped Joe off at the facility decades ago. Anchorage Daily News, "Thousands sick from COVID-19 in homes for the disabled," 28 June 2020 But the search results also reflect the assumption, common among individuals in the global north—notably Europe and North America—that people in tropical climates are helpless victims who lack the capacity to cope with climate change. Simon Donner, Scientific American, "The Ugly History of Climate Determinism Is Still Evident Today," 24 June 2020 Joe Biden is a helpless puppet of the radical left. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "This Is How Trump Plans to Beat Biden," 21 June 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

7 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Helpless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/helpless. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for helpless

helpless

adjective
How to pronounce helpless (audio)

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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