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

  • transitive v. To give help or support to, especially as a subordinate or supplement; aid: The clerk assisted the judge by looking up related precedents. Her breathing was assisted by a respirator.
  • intransitive v. To give aid or support. See Synonyms at help.
  • intransitive v. To be present, as at a conference.
  • n. An act of giving aid; help.
  • n. Sports A fielding and throwing of a baseball in such a way that enables a teammate to put out a runner.
  • n. Sports A pass, as in basketball or ice hockey, that enables the receiver to score a goal.
  • n. Sports Official credit that is given for such a pass.
  • n. A mechanical device providing aid.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A helpful action or an act of giving.
  • n. a statistic used in different sports to quantify the act of helping another player score points or goals; in baseball, an assist is defensive, allowing a teammate to record a putout.
  • v. To stand (at a place) or to (an opinion), to attend a theatrical performance.
  • v. To help.
  • v. To make a pass that leads directly towards scoring.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To lend aid; to help.
  • intransitive v. To be present as a spectator.
  • transitive v. To give support to in some undertaking or effort, or in time of distress; to help; to aid; to succor.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To attend; be present at or with; take part with.
  • To help; aid; succor; give support to in some undertaking or effort, or in time of distress.
  • To be associated with as an assistant.
  • To lend aid or help.
  • To be present, as at a public meeting; take part, as in a ceremony or discussion.
  • In euchre, to order the adoption of the suit to which the card turned up as trump belongs, when this order is given by the partner of the dealer.

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

  • v. give help or assistance; be of service
  • v. work for or be a servant to
  • v. act as an assistant in a subordinate or supportive function
  • n. the activity of contributing to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose
  • n. (sports) the act of enabling another player to make a good play


Middle English assisten, from Old French assister, from Latin assistere : ad-, ad- + sistere, to stand.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French assister, from Latin assistere, both words meaning, "to assist." (Wiktionary)



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  • "He was the surgeon who offered his assistance to the assistant surgeon who was assisting the surgeon who had no further need for assistance."
    -Colonel Henry Blake.

    July 26, 2009