Definitions

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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The steering apparatus of a ship, especially the tiller or wheel.
  • n. The member of the crew in charge of steering the boat.
  • n. A position of leadership or control.
  • v. To be a helmsman or a member of the helm; to be in charge of steering the boat.
  • v. To lead (a project, etc.).
  • n. A helmet.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See haulm, straw.
  • n. The apparatus by which a ship is steered, comprising rudder, tiller, wheel, etc.; -- commonly used of the tiller or wheel alone.
  • n. The place or office of direction or administration.
  • n. One at the place of direction or control; a steersman; hence, a guide; a director.
  • n. A helve.
  • n. A helmet.
  • n. A heavy cloud lying on the brow of a mountain.
  • transitive v. To steer; to guide; to direct.
  • transitive v. To cover or furnish with a helm or helmet.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To steer; guide; direct.
  • To furnish with a helmet; cover with a helmet, as a knight.
  • n. A handle; a helve.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Hence The place or post of direction or management: as, to take the helm of affairs.
  • n. A defensive cover for the head; a helmet. See helmet, now the more common form.
  • 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.
  • n. A hovel; an outhouse.
  • n. Same as halm.
  • n. 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

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

Etymologies

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

Middle English, from Old English helma.
Middle English, from Old English; see kel-1 in Indo-European roots.

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

Comments

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  • "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

  • 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