Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A helper and companion, especially a spouse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person who supplies help or companionship.
  • n. A wife or spouse.
  • n. A recreational problem in chess in which both sides cooperate to achieve a specific goal.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A helper; a companion; specifically, a wife.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An assistant; a helper; a coadjutor; a partner.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a helpful partner

Etymologies

Probably alteration of helpmeet (influenced by mate1).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
A folk-etymological alteration of helpmeet, by reanalysis as help + mate. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Indeed, watching Matt Bomer step up to stardom as Neal Caffrey, imprisoned-con-artist-turned-FBI-helpmate, is to be reminded of the symbiotic relationship that exists between TV stars and the shows that make them so.

    USA's 'White Collar': You'll want to catch this thief

  • Between the great world and solitude, he needs the intermediate filling-up which the life domestic alone supplies: a wife to realize the sweet word helpmate; children, with whose future he could knit his own toils and his ancestral remembrances.

    What Will He Do with It? — Complete

  • Between the great world and solitude, he needs the intermediate filling - up which the life domestic alone supplies: a wife to realize the sweet word helpmate; children, with whose future he could knit his own toils and his ancestral remembrances.

    What Will He Do with It? — Volume 06

  • At that hour it was so rare an event in the life of Mr. Mivers to be found in the drawing-room, and that he should have an acquaintance unknown to his helpmate was a circumstance so much rarer still, that Mr.. Mivers may well be forgiven for keeping St. John standing at the door till she had recovered her amaze.

    Lucretia — Volume 05

  • And I'm ower failed to tak a helpmate, though Wylie Mactrickit the writer was very pressing, and spak very civilly; but I 'm ower auld a cat to draw that strae before me.

    Old Mortality, Complete

  • I knew this wasn't the case -- but if women believed that marriage meant the gift of a spouse who made a home for them, a "helpmate" who nurtured them, who made a social life possible, a mother who took care of their children, and a nurseful listener who was charming in uncharming situations -- if that was the case, then women propose on bended knee faster than you can say "diary-of-a-mad-housewife."

    Susie Bright: Are You a Marryin' Fool?

  • Buzz about your managerial style, your thirst for power, your "helpmate" President Clinton, who has already been quoted as saying he feels he owes it to you to do everything he can to win you this election.

    Stacy Parker Aab: Hillary Clinton as Mob Boss, Possibly on Verge of...

  • Burke also said Winburn's statements on women in the same book - that a woman "must be taught what her boundaries are and how to be a 'helpmate' to her husband" - were "extremist."

    September 2005

  • * The existence of the two words helpmeet and helpmate, meaning exactly the same thing, is a comedy of errors.

    Bible. O. T. Apocryphal books. English

  • Adam to name the animals was the hope that he would find a 'helpmate' among them.

    The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria

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Comments

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  • Spelled archaically as helpmeet, and both spelled and incorrectly pronounced that way, sometimes even as help meet, and even definitionally interpreted from the modern definitions of those words, by people who as far as their practice of Christianity goes never bothered to notice that the 1600s were over. (Those are interesting sorts of people. Quite often they have the best of hearts while being frightfully backward.)

    December 12, 2009