Definition of help verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    help

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//help//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//help//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they help
    BrE BrE//help//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//help//
     
    he / she / it helps
    BrE BrE//helps//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//helps//
     
    past simple helped
    BrE BrE//helpt//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//helpt//
     
    past participle helped
    BrE BrE//helpt//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//helpt//
     
    -ing form helping
    BrE BrE//ˈhelpɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈhelpɪŋ//
     
     
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    make easier/better
  1. 1  [intransitive, transitive] to make it easier or possible for somebody to do something by doing something for them or by giving them something that they need Help, I'm stuck! help with something He always helps with the housework. help somebody We must all try and help each other. help somebody with something Jo will help us with some of the organization. help (somebody) in doing something I need contacts that could help in finding a job. help somebody (to) do something The college’s aim is to help students (to) achieve their aspirations. This charity aims to help people (to) help themselves. Come and help me lift this box. help (to) do something She helped (to) organize the party. In verb patterns with a to infinitive, the ‘to’ is often left out, especially in informal or spoken English. Express YourselfAsking for helpIf you need help, people are more likely to react favourably if you ask politely: Could you possibly help me? I wonder if you could give me a hand? Would you mind opening the door for me? I wonder if you'd mind taking a picture of us? Could I ask you to keep an eye on my luggage for a moment?Responses: Yes, of course. I'm sorry, I'm in a hurry. Sure.(informal or North American English) Express YourselfOffering to do somethingThere are various ways of offering and accepting help: Would you like me to help you with that? Can I give you a hand? Can I help you with that? Shall I carry that for you? (British English or formal, North American English) Would it help if I spoke to Julie before you call her? Let me take your bag. If there's anything I can do (to help), let me know.Responses: That's very kind/nice/generous/thoughtful of you. Thank you. It's all right, thank you. I can manage/do it. Thanks. That would be very helpful.
  2. 2  [intransitive, transitive] to improve a situation; to make it easier for something to happen It helped being able to talk about it. The money raised will help towards (= partly provide) the cost of organizing the championships. help something It doesn't really help matters knowing that everyone is talking about us. help (to) do something This should help (to) reduce the pain. We need new measures to help (to) fight terrorism.
  3. somebody to move
  4. 3  [transitive] help somebody + adv./prep. to help somebody move by letting them lean on you, guiding them, etc. She helped him to his feet. We were helped ashore by local people.
  5. give food/drink
  6. 4  [transitive] to give yourself/somebody food, drinks, etc. help yourself If you want another drink, just help yourself. help yourself/somebody to something Can I help you to some more salad?
  7. steal
  8. 5[transitive] help yourself to something (informal, disapproving) to take something without permission synonym steal He'd been helping himself to the money in the cash register.
  9. Word Origin Old English helpan (verb), help (noun), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch helpen and German helfen.Extra examples Can you help me with my homework? He gently helped her back into the chair. He had actively helped many Jews to escape. His statement hardly helped his case. I helped her across the road. I thought a walk would help somehow. I was only trying to help out. I’m afraid I can’t help you. Intense guilt won’t necessarily help here. Iron helps in the formation of red blood cells. It certainly helped that her father is a duke! Lavender oil supposedly helps you sleep. Many people inadvertently help thieves by leaving keys in full view. Mike helped the old lady to her feet. My mother helps me a lot. She helped the old man out of the car. Talking to a counsellor helped her enormously. The minimum wage is designed to help people in low-pay service industries. The whole process was greatly helped by the widespread availability of computers. We all help with the housework. the best way of helping your child Can you help me lift this box? Correct breathing helps to clear the mind and reduce tension. Help, I’m stuck. It certainly helped being able to talk about it. It doesn’t help matters that everyone is talking about us. The college’s aim is to help students to achieve their aspirations. The exhibition helped her establish herself as an artist. The international community must step in to help rebuild the country. The money raised helped towards the cost of organizing the event. The new service helped boost pre-tax profits by 10%. The study of the present also helps to illuminate the past. Therapy helped her overcome her fear. Think of some questions that will help focus the discussion. We need new measures to help fight terrorism. We were given clues to help us solve the puzzle.Idioms
    somebody cannot ˈhelp (doing) something, somebody cannot ˈhelp but do something
     
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    used to say that it is impossible to prevent or avoid something I can't help thinking he knows more than he has told us. He can’t help being ugly. She couldn't help but wonder what he was thinking. It couldn't be helped (= there was no way of avoiding it and we must accept it). He never does more work than he can help (= he does as little as possible). I always end up having an argument with her, I don't know why, I just can't help it. I couldn't help it if the bus was late (= it wasn't my fault). She burst out laughing—she couldn't help herself (= couldn't stop herself). She won’t be invited again, not if I can help it (= if I can do anything to prevent it).
    give/lend a ˌhelping ˈhand
     
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    to help somebody
    God/Heaven ˈhelp somebody
     
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    (informal) used to say that you are afraid somebody will be in danger or that something bad will happen to them God help us if this doesn't work. Some people find this use offensive.
    used to swear that what you are saying is true, especially in a court of law
    Phrasal Verbsˌhelp somebody ˈoff with somethingˌhelp ˈout
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: help