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

  • intransitive verb To give assistance to (someone); make it easier for (someone) to do something; aid.
  • intransitive verb To give material or financial aid to.
  • intransitive verb To wait on, as in a store or restaurant.
  • intransitive verb To contribute to the effectiveness or improvement of (something); improve or advance.
  • intransitive verb To ease the pain or discomfort of; relieve.
  • intransitive verb To refrain from; avoid or resist. Used with can or cannot:
  • intransitive verb To be of service; give assistance.
  • intransitive verb To be of use or provide relief.
  • noun The action of helping; assistance.
  • noun One that helps.
  • noun Archaic A person employed to help, especially a farm worker or domestic servant.
  • noun Such employees considered as a group. Often used with the.
  • idiom (help (oneself) to) To serve or provide oneself with.
  • idiom Informal (help (oneself) to) To take (something) without asking permission.
  • idiom (help (someone) off) To assist (someone) in taking off a piece of clothing.
  • idiom (help (someone) on) To assist in putting on a piece of clothing.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Assistance; aid given toward doing, accomplishing, or attaining anything, as labor, escape from danger or difficulty, discharge of obligations, etc.
  • noun Remedy; relief; succor; means of deliverance: as, failure is inevitable, there is no help for it.
  • noun A source of aid, relief, or succor; a helper.
  • noun Hence An assistant; a hired laborer or servant; especially, a domestic or household servant; collectively, servants or assistants; the supply of workers.
  • To furnish aid to; contribute strength or means to; assist in doing, accomplishing, or attaining anything; assist; aid: as, to help a man in his work; to help one out of difficulties. See to help to, below.
  • To bring succor or relief to; relieve; rescue.
  • To mitigate, as pain or disease; heal, relieve, or comfort, as a person in pain or distress.
  • To mend; repair.
  • To change for the better; remedy: as, he cannot help his deformity.
  • To prevent; avoid; forbear; keep or refrain from: with can or cannot.
  • To increase; aggravate.
  • To aid in going, removing, getting, etc.: with ellipsis of to go, to get, etc.: as, help me in (that is, help me to go in); help me off my horse.
  • To give out in portions.
  • To lend aid; be of use; avail.
  • To serve or distribute food, as at table.

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

  • transitive verb To furnish with strength or means for the successful performance of any action or the attainment of any object; to aid; to assist; ; -- the following infinitive is commonly used without to
  • transitive verb To furnish with the means of deliverance from trouble
  • transitive verb To furnish with relief, as in pain or disease; to be of avail against; -- sometimes with of before a word designating the pain or disease, and sometimes having such a word for the direct object.
  • transitive verb To change for the better; to remedy.
  • transitive verb To prevent; to hinder; as, the evil approaches, and who can help it?
  • transitive verb To forbear; to avoid.
  • transitive verb To wait upon, as the guests at table, by carving and passing food.
  • transitive verb to assist in advancing.
  • transitive verb to help to go or pass away, as time; to assist in removing.
  • transitive verb to forward; to promote by aid.
  • transitive verb to aid, as in delivering from a difficulty, or to aid in completing a design or task.
  • transitive verb to enable to surmount.
  • transitive verb to supply with; to furnish with; as, to help one to soup.
  • transitive verb to help (one) to get up; to assist in rising, as after a fall, and the like.
  • intransitive verb To lend aid or assistance; to contribute strength or means; to avail or be of use; to assist.
  • intransitive verb to lend aid; to bring a supply.


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

[Middle English helpen, from Old English helpan.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old English help ("help, aid, assistance, relief"), from Proto-Germanic *hilpiz, *hulpiz, *helpō (“help”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱelb-, *ḱelp- (“to help”). Cognate with West Frisian help ("help"), Dutch hulp ("help"), Swedish hjälpa ("to help"), German Hilfe ("help, aid, assistance"), Danish hjælp ("help"), Norwegian hjelp ("help").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English helpen, from Old English helpan ("to help, aid, assist, benefit, relieve, cure"), from Proto-Germanic *helpanan (“to help”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱelb-, *ḱelp- (“to help”). Cognate with West Frisian helpe ("to help"), Dutch helpen ("to help"), German helfen ("to help"), Danish hjælpe ("to help"), Norwegian hjelpe ("to help").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word help.


  • It sounds to me like you also need help - not just meds, but someone to *help*.

    Deep Into The Darkness 2008

  • “Then help me, princess, ” cried Theseus; “help me to come to the Minotaur and look upon it, and help me, too, to get back the sword that I brought with me to Crete.

    Part III. The Heroes of the Quest. Chapter III. Theseus and the Minotaur. IV 1921

  • Don’t urge me; help me, —help me, because I love you.

    XI. In the Lane. Book VI—The Great Temptation 1917

  • I have taken a new name in part, and with my bride's help, I hope to _help_ you more than I formerly _hindered_ you, to keep the rules of the Try

    Jessie Carlton The Story of a Girl who Fought with Little Impulse, the Wizard, and Conquered Him Daniel Wise 1855

  • ` Massa, shall I help you? 'and you say, ` Yes, you must _help_ me.'

    Olla Podrida Frederick Marryat 1820

  • To help him who _will not _help himself; or, indiscriminately to relieve those that want, is totally to mistake the end; for want is often met with: but to supply those who _cannot_ supply themselves, becomes real charity.

    An History of Birmingham (1783) William Hutton 1769

  • II. vii.125 (271,1) [And take upon command what help we have] It seems necessary to read, _then take upon_ demand _what help_, &c. that is,

    Notes to Shakespeare — Volume 01: Comedies Samuel Johnson 1746

  • These auctions will benefit a child cancer patient and help with their bills - Happy Bidding and thank you for your help~ 2009

  • In order therefore that he may fulfil the precept, and not covet, he is constrained to despair of himself and to seek elsewhere and through another the help which he cannot find in himself; as it is said, “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thine help” (Hosea xiii.

    Concerning Christian Liberty 1909

  • Only one teacher ever had the sense to call in help from the emotional support staff for a meltdown rather than report him as a disciplinary problem, and of the administrators, one has been fabulous, one okay, and one well-meaning but doesn't think outside the box.

    Aspergers 2010


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The key on an Apple keyboard that I always hit accidentally when I'm trying to press the delete key. Annoying as all get-out. Though it has its moments of practicality from time to time, I never was one to appreciate usefulness.

    March 5, 2007

  • Oh yes, that happens to me too!! Annoying as all get-out, as you say.

    I did once discover – perhaps in Word, or may it was at system level – a way to map Help to a different key. If I can find it again I will post the solution here.

    April 27, 2008

  • Obvious citation:

    Help! I need somebody.

    Help! Not just anybody.

    Help! You know I need someone.


    - The Beatles

    April 27, 2008

  • Funny, I have more trouble pressing the Caps Lock key when I mean to press the Tab key--but only on an Apple. Overly developed left pinky, I suppose. ;-)

    April 28, 2008

  • That's no help!

    September 18, 2008

  • Oh, you're right! (deleted)

    September 18, 2008

  • See video for how to specify a particular point in a linked YouTube video.

    November 1, 2008

  • LOL love the beatles citation.

    May 28, 2009

  • i need help... can you please delete my account?

    September 16, 2009

  • Wodnik needs a Help page.

    How do you add/suggest a new definition?

    September 1, 2011

  • See help.

    September 1, 2011

  • How do you call a person who refuses being helped?

    November 3, 2011

  • Help! is a 1965 movie starring the Beatles.

    May 12, 2019

  • Hello Wordieniks ... We're making some much-needed improvements to the site and in the way of all improvements, things will get worse before they get better. :( Please holler to if you have trouble logging in, are missing data (it's just being moved, nothing has been lost) or have any other questions.

    Comments, stats, and tags/favorites may be unavailable at random points through next weekend while we make updates.

    I thank you for your patience and support!

    May 12, 2019

  • We need a word for things will get worse before they get better.

    May 13, 2019