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to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need; contribute strength or means to; render assistance to; cooperate effectively with; aid; assist:
He planned to help me with my work. Let me help you with those packages.
to save; rescue; succor:
Help me, I’m falling!
to make easier or less difficult; contribute to; facilitate:
The exercise of restraint is certain to help the achievement of peace.
to be useful or profitable to:
Her quick mind helped her career.
to refrain from; avoid (usually preceded by can or cannot):
He can’t help doing it.
to relieve or break the uniformity of:
Small patches of bright color can help an otherwise dull interior.
to relieve (someone) in need, sickness, pain, or distress.
to remedy, stop, or prevent:
Nothing will help my headache.
to serve food to at table (usually followed by to):
Help her to salad.
to serve or wait on (a customer), as in a store.
to give aid; be of service or advantage:
Every little bit helps.
the act of helping; aid or assistance; relief or succor.
a person or thing that helps:
She certainly is a help in an emergency.
a hired helper; employee.
a body of such helpers.
a domestic servant or a farm laborer.
means of remedying, stopping, or preventing:
The thing is done, and there is no help for it now.
Older Use. helping (def 2).
(used as an exclamation to call for assistance or to attract attention.)
help out, to assist in an effort; be of aid to:
Her relatives helped out when she became ill.
cannot / can’t help but, to be unable to refrain from or avoid; be obliged to:
Still, you can’t help but admire her.
help oneself to,

to serve oneself; take a portion of:
Help yourself to the cake.
to take or use without asking permission; appropriate:
They helped themselves to the farmer’s apples. Help yourself to any of the books we’re giving away.

so help me, (used as a mild form of the oath “so help me God”) I am speaking the truth; on my honor:
That’s exactly what happened, so help me.
Contemporary Examples

How The G7 Lost Its Mojo David Rothkopf October 22, 2008
Did PBS Bury an Expose on Torture? Scott Horton October 13, 2008
Dave Chappelle’s Secret Shows Touré July 9, 2011
The Latent Chauvinism Of Lapid’s “Zoabiz” Apology Rawia Aburabia February 13, 2013
Remembering the Fall of Saigon and Vietnam’s Mass ‘Boat People’ Exodus Katie Baker April 29, 2014

Historical Examples

In the Valley Harold Frederic
Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
The Destroyer Burton Egbert Stevenson
Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
From Pole to Pole Sven Anders Hedin

to assist or aid (someone to do something), esp by sharing the work, cost, or burden of something: he helped his friend to escape, she helped him climb out of the boat
to alleviate the burden of (someone else) by giving assistance
(transitive) to assist (a person) to go in a specified direction: help the old lady up from the chair
to promote or contribute to: to help the relief operations
to cause improvement in (a situation, person, etc): crying won’t help
(transitive; preceded by can, could, etc; usually used with a negative)

to avoid or refrain from: we can’t help wondering who he is
(usually foll by it) to prevent or be responsible for: I can’t help it if it rains

to alleviate (an illness, etc)
(transitive) to serve (a customer): can I help you, madam?
(transitive) foll by to

to serve (someone with food, etc) (usually in the phrase help oneself): may I help you to some more vegetables?, help yourself to peas
to provide (oneself with) without permission: he’s been helping himself to money out of the petty cash

cannot help but, to be unable to do anything else except: I cannot help but laugh
help a person off with, to assist a person in the removal of (clothes)
help a person on with, to assist a person in the putting on of (clothes)
so help me

on my honour
no matter what: so help me, I’ll get revenge

the act of helping, or being helped, or a person or thing that helps: she’s a great help
a helping

a person hired for a job; employee, esp a farm worker or domestic servant
(functioning as sing) several employees collectively

a means of remedy: there’s no help for it
used to ask for assistance

A domestic servant of American birth, and without negro blood in his or her veins … is not a servant, but a ‘help.’ ‘Help wanted,’ is the common heading of advertisements in the North, when servants are required. [Chas. Mackay, “Life and Liberty in America,” 1859].

Though help also meant “assistant, helper, supporter” in Middle English (c.1200).
Health Education Library for People

help oneself
help out


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