AskDefine | Define help

Dictionary Definition



1 the activity of contributing to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose; "he gave me an assist with the housework"; "could not walk without assistance"; "rescue party went to their aid"; "offered his help in unloading" [syn: aid, assist, assistance]
2 a resource; "visual aids in teaching"; "economic assistance to depressed areas" [syn: aid, assistance]
3 a means of serving; "of no avail"; "there's no help for it" [syn: avail, service]
4 a person who contributes to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose; "my invaluable assistant"; "they hired additional help to finish the work" [syn: assistant, helper, supporter]


1 give help or assistance; be of service; "Everyone helped out during the earthquake"; "Can you help me carry this table?"; "She never helps around the house" [syn: assist, aid]
2 be of use; "This will help to prevent accidents" [syn: facilitate]
3 improve the condition of; "These pills will help the patient" [syn: aid]
4 abstain from doing; always used with a negative; "I can't help myself--I have to smoke"; "She could not help watching the sad spectacle" [syn: help oneself]
5 contribute to the furtherance of; "This money will help the development of literacy in developing countries"
6 improve; change for the better; "New slipcovers will help the old living room furniture"
7 help to some food; help with food or drink; "I served him three times, and after that he helped himself" [syn: serve]
8 take or use; "She helped herself to some of the office supplies" [syn: avail]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • , /hɛlp/, /hElp/

Etymology 1

From lang=ang.


  1. Action given to provide assistance; aid.
    I need some help with my homework.
  2. A person or persons who provide assistance with some task.
    He was a great help to me when I was moving house.
  3. A person employed to help in the maintenance of a house.
    The help is coming round this morning to clean.
Derived terms
action given to provide assistance
person or persons who provides assistance with some task
person employed to help in the maintenance of a house
textual support of a software application
  • Czech: nápověda

Etymology 2



  1. To provide assistance to (someone or something).
    He helped his grandfather cook breakfast.
  2. To contribute in some way to.
    The white paint on the walls helps make the room look brighter.
  3. To provide assistance.
    She was struggling with the groceries, so I offered to help.
  4. To avoid; to prevent; to refrain from; to restrain (oneself). Usually used in the negative with can.
    We couldn’t help noticing that you were late.
    We couldn’t help but notice that you were late.
    She’s trying not to smile, but she can’t help herself.

Usage notes

Derived terms
transitive: provide assistance to (someone or something)
contribute in some way to
  • Romanian: ajuta
  • Russian: помогать , помочь
intransitive: provide assistance
  • French: aider
  • Italian: aiutare
  • Romanian: ajuta, asista
  • Russian: помогать , помочь


  1. I/we desperately need assistance!
    Help! We're under attack!
  • mayday! (used by vessels and aircraft)
we desperately need assistance




Old English


Common *|helpo


  1. help

Extensive Definition

Help is any form of assistance; propensity to help is known as helpfulness.
Help may also refer to:
In media:
Help! may refer to part of a collection of works by the rock band The Beatles:
  • Help! (film), a 1965 film directed by Richard Lester starring The Beatles
  • "Help!" (song), the number one single and theme song of the film
  • Help! (album), the 1965 The Beatles album of which the first half is made up of songs from the film, including the song "Help!"
Help! may also refer to:
  • Help! (magazine), from the creator of Mad Magazine
  • The English title for an unrelated song called "An Mwé", from Kassav's 1989 album Majestik Zouk
HELP may refer to:

See also

  • Help me (disambiguation)
  • Call for help - actually yelling the word "help!"
  • Charitable organization - organizations that help people, usually for free.
  • Distress signal - another way to call for help.
  • Crisis - a stressful or dangerous situation in which one or more persons may need help.
  • Emergency - a situation which poses an immediate risk to health, life, property or environment. A type of crisis.
  • Homework help service - program in which tutors are made available to assist with a student's homework. Many libraries host homework help services.
  • Online help, information or assistance provided in response to the "help" menu item or "help" command in a software program. The standard key command for online help is the F1 key.
help in Estonian: Help!
help in Spanish: Help!
help in French: Help!
help in Italian: Help!
help in Latvian: Help!
help in Dutch: Help
help in Japanese: ヘルプ
help in Norwegian: Help!
help in Finnish: Help
help in Swedish: Hjälp (olika betydelser)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Samaritan, abet, acolyte, adjutant, administer to, advance, advantage, advise, agent, aid, aide, aide-de-camp, aider, alimony, alleviate, allotment, allowance, alterative, ameliorate, amend, analeptic, ancilla, annuity, antepast, anticipate, appropriate, arrogate, assist, assistance, assistant, assistants, assister, attend, attend on, attendant, auxiliary, avail, avert, avoid, back, backer, bail out, balm, balsam, bar, bear a hand, befriend, befriender, benefactor, benefactress, benefit, benefiter, best man, better, bolster, boost, bounty, break no bones, care for, champion, chore, clear the way, coadjutant, coadjutor, coadjutress, coadjutrix, comfort, commandeer, confer a benefit, cooperation, corrective, course, cover, crew, cure, dance attendance upon, debar, deflect, depletion allowance, deputy, dessert, deter, discourage, dish, dishearten, do a favor, do a kindness, do for, do good, do no harm, do service to, doctor, dole, domestic, domestic servant, domestics, drudge, ease, employees, entree, entremets, escape, eschew, estop, exclude, executive officer, expedite, explain, expropriate, facilitate, favor, fellowship, fend, fend off, finance, financial assistance, forbear, forbid, force, foreclose, forestall, forward, fund, further, gang, give a boost, give a hand, give a lift, give help, good Samaritan, good offices, good person, grant, grant-in-aid, grease, grease the ways, grease the wheels, guaranteed annual income, hand, hands, hasten, healing agent, healing quality, help along, help out, helper, helpers, helping, helping hand, helpmate, helpmeet, hired help, improve, inform, jack-at-a-pinch, keep from, keep off, laborers, lackey, lend a hand, lend one aid, lieutenant, lift, look after, loose, lubricate, maid, make clear, make way for, meliorate, men, menial, minister to, ministering angel, ministrant, ministration, ministry, mitigate, nick, obviate, office, offices, oil, old-age insurance, open the way, open up, palliate, pander to, paranymph, paraprofessional, patron, pave the way, pay the bills, pecuniary aid, pension, pension off, personnel, pinch, pirate, place, plagiarize, plate, portion, preclude, prepare the way, prescription, prevent, price support, proffer aid, profit, prohibit, promote, protect, protection, public assistance, public welfare, purloin, quicken, rally, receipt, recipe, reclaim, redeem, refrain from, relief, relieve, remedial measure, remedy, remove friction, render a service, render assistance, repel, rescue, resist, restorative, restore, resuscitate, retinue, retirement benefits, revive, rule out, run interference for, save, scholarship, scullion, second, second helping, servant, servantry, servants, serve, service, serving, servitor, set up, sideman, simplify, slavey, smooth, smooth the way, soap the ways, sovereign remedy, specific, specific remedy, speed, staff, stand back of, stave off, stead, steal, stipend, stop, striker, subsidization, subsidize, subsidy, subvention, succor, succorer, support, supporter, supporting actor, supporting instrumentalist, take, take care of, take in tow, tax benefit, tend, the help, therapy, turn aside, turnspit, unbar, unblock, unclog, unjam, uphold, upon, use, usurp, valet, wait, wait on, ward off, welfare, welfare aid, welfare payments, work for, workers
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