Language: Old English
Origin: helpan


1 verb
help1 S1 W1
1 [intransitive and transitive] to make it possible or easier for someone to do something by doing part of their work or by giving them something they need:
If there's anything I can do to help, just give me a call.
help somebody (to) do something
I helped her to carry her cases up the stairs.
She helped him choose some new clothes.
herbal products that help you to relax and sleep
help (to) do something
She was coming to help clean the machines.
help somebody with something
Can I help you with the washing up?
My father said he's going to help me with the fees.
help somebody on/off with something (=help someone put on or take off a piece of clothing)
Here, let me help you on with your coat.
help somebody somewhere (=help someone get to a particular place, especially because they are old, ill, or hurt)
She helped the old man across the road.
2 [intransitive and transitive] to make a situation better, easier, or less painful:
Crying won't help.
If you get rid of your car you could be helping the environment.
It helps my concentration if I listen to music while I'm working.
It helped a lot to know that someone understood how I felt.
Eight hours of deep sleep helped enormously.

help yourself (to something)

a) to take some of what you want, without asking permission - used especially when offering food to someone:
Please help yourself to some cake.
b) informal to steal something:
Obviously he had been helping himself to the money.


spoken used to call people and ask them to help you when you are in danger

somebody can't help (doing) something

also somebody can't help but do something used to say that someone is unable to change their behaviour or feelings, or to prevent themselves from doing something:
She couldn't help it if she was being irrational.
'Stop biting your nails.' 'I can't help it.'
I can't help the way I feel about you.
Lee could not help but agree with her.
somebody can't help feeling/thinking/wondering etc something
I can't help feeling that there has been a mistake.
I couldn't help thinking about the past.

I couldn't help myself/she couldn't help herself etc

to be unable to stop yourself from doing something you should not do:
She knew she sounded just like her mother but she couldn't help herself.

it can't be helped

spoken used to say that there is nothing you can do to change a bad situation:
She said she had to leave him for a while; it couldn't be helped.

somebody is helping the police with their enquiries

British English the police are interviewing someone about a crime, especially because they believe that this person may have committed the crime

a helping hand

help and support
give/lend/offer etc somebody a helping hand
She's been giving me a helping hand with the children.

not if I can help it

spoken used to say that you are not going to do something:
'Are you going to watch the school play?' 'Not if I can help it.'

God help him/them etc

spoken used to say that something bad may happen to someone:
'Good luck.' 'God help me. I think I'm going to need it.'

so help me (God)

SCL used when making a serious promise, especially in a court of law

help something ↔ along

phrasal verb
to make a process or activity happen more quickly or easily:
She asked a few questions to help the conversation along.

help out

phrasal verb
to help someone because they are busy or have problems:
Do you need anyone to help out in the shop?
help somebody ↔ out (with something)
I helped her out when Stella became ill.
She was helping him out with his mortgage repayments.

help, assist, give somebody a hand, lend a hand, help out
Help is the most general verb meaning 'to make it possible or easier for someone to do something'.: Note that in the patterns help to do something or help someone to do something you can leave out the 'to' and say help do something or help someone do something Cleaner water will help prevent disease. money to help people build new homes.Assist is a formal word, and means to help someone by doing part of the work for them, especially the things that are not very important Would you be kind enough to assist me in a small experiment?!! Do not say 'assist someone to do something'. Say assist someone with something or assist someone in doing something.!! Do not use assist to mean 'attend' or 'be present at'.Give somebody a hand, lend a hand, and help out are used in more informal English. Give somebody a hand means to help someone, especially by carrying or lifting things Can you give me a hand stacking up these boxes? Lend a hand and help out mean to help someone, especially when there are not enough people to do something Police came from other areas to lend a hand. Their friends helped out with the fundraising.

Dictionary results for "help"
Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.