Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A helmet.
  • transitive verb To cover or furnish with a helmet.
  • noun Nautical The steering gear of a ship, especially the tiller or wheel.
  • noun A position of leadership or control.
  • transitive verb To take the helm of; steer or direct.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To steer; guide; direct.
  • noun A defensive cover for the head; a helmet. See helmet, now the more common form.
  • noun A dark heavy cloud that rests on the brow of a mountain before a storm, while the rest of the sky is clear. Also helm-cloud and helmet.
  • noun A hovel; an outhouse.
  • To furnish with a helmet; cover with a helmet, as a knight.
  • noun Same as halm.
  • noun A handle; a helve.
  • noun Nautical, the handle, lever, or instrument by which the rudder is shifted; the tiller, or in large ships the wheel: sometimes extended to include the whole steering-apparatus.
  • noun Hence The place or post of direction or management: as, to take the helm of affairs.
  • noun Said of a vessel the tendency of which is to keep coming up into the wind, and which requires that the tiller be kept more or less to windward to counteract it.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Naut.) The apparatus by which a ship is steered, comprising rudder, tiller, wheel, etc.; -- commonly used of the tiller or wheel alone.
  • noun The place or office of direction or administration.
  • noun One at the place of direction or control; a steersman; hence, a guide; a director.
  • noun Obs. or Prov. Eng. A helve.
  • noun when the tiller, rudder, and keel are in the same plane.
  • noun when the tiller is borne over to the port side of the ship.
  • noun when the tiller is borne to the starboard side.
  • noun when the tiller is borne over to the lee or to the weather side.
  • noun when the tiller is borne over to the extreme limit.
  • noun the round hole in a vessel's counter through which the rudderstock passes.
  • noun helm alee.
  • noun helm aweather.
  • noun to let the tiller come more amidships, so as to lessen the strain on the rudder.
  • noun to obey it.
  • noun to put it amidships.
  • noun to bear the tiller over to the corresponding position on the opposite side of the vessel.
  • transitive verb rare To steer; to guide; to direct.
  • noun Poetic A helmet.
  • noun Prov. Eng. A heavy cloud lying on the brow of a mountain.
  • transitive verb Perh. used only as a past part. or part. adj. To cover or furnish with a helm or helmet.
  • noun See haulm, straw.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun nautical The steering apparatus of a ship, especially the tiller or wheel.
  • noun maritime The member of the crew in charge of steering the boat.
  • noun metaphor A position of leadership or control.
  • verb To be a helmsman or a member of the helm; to be in charge of steering the boat.
  • verb by extension To lead (a project, etc.).
  • noun archaic A helmet.

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

  • verb be at or take the helm of
  • noun steering mechanism for a vessel; a mechanical device by which a vessel is steered
  • noun a position of leadership

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old English; see kel- in Indo-European roots.]

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

[Middle English, from Old English helma.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English helma, from Proto-Germanic *helmô (“handle”).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old English helm, Proto-Germanic *helmaz (“protective covering”), probably from Proto-Indo-European *kelmo-s (“to cover, to hide”); cf. *ḱel- (“to hide, protect”). Compare West Frisian helm, Dutch helm, Low German Helm, German Helm, Danish hjelm.

Examples

  • (_relied for himself on the help of God_), 1273. â-lýsan, w. v., _to loose, liberate_: pret.part. þâ wäs of þäm hrôran helm and byrne lungre â-lýsed (_helm and corselet were straightway loosed from him_), 1631.

    Beowulf

  • (_relied for himself on the help of God_), 1273. ā-lȳsan, w. v., _to loose, liberate_: pret.part. þā wæs of þǣm hrōran helm and byrne lungre ā-lȳsed (_helm and corselet were straightway loosed from him_), 1631.

    Beowulf

  • A family that only has brothers at the helm is the most unstable form of business enterprise.

    Indian Family Businesses

  • Facebook with Zuckerberg at the helm is a careening accident waiting to happen.

    Europe’s Privacy Concerns May Hinder Facebook

  • A family that only has brothers at the helm is the most unstable form of business enterprise.

    Indian Family Businesses

  • Guiding the Red Sox to their first World Series title since 1918 in his first year at the helm is a feat that cannot be duplicated.

    USATODAY.com - Red Sox's Francona not as pressured

  • The man at the helm is an oil man, surrounded by other oil people who have yet to seriously pitch energy conservation or new energy sources.

    10/16/2004

  • As the helm is a very small part of the ship, so is the tongue a very small part of the body: but the right governing of the helm or rudder will steer and turn the ship as the governor pleases; and a right management of the tongue is, in a great measure, the government of the whole man.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume VI (Acts to Revelation)

  • To ask Americans for money in these failed times with Obama at the helm is obsurd!

    Bill Clinton lends a hand on wife's debt

  • Having an engineer at the helm is dangerous because he/she may (and have) impose design solutions instead of defining a vision or purpose.

    Other Names Indicate Greening of NASA, Focus on Science - NASA Watch

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • Mr. Robert Montgomery is very severe on the infidels, and undertakes to prove, that, as he elegantly expresses it,

    "One great Enchanter helm'd the harmonious whole."

    What an enchanter has to do with helming, or what a helm has to do with harmony, he does not explain.

    —Macaulay eviscerating the unfortunate poet Robert Montgomery, 1830 (ganked from Language Log)

    June 15, 2009

  • "n. A dark heavy cloud that rests on the brow of a mountain before a storm, while the rest of the sky is clear. Also helm-cloud and helmet." --CD&C

    February 10, 2012