Etymology: Middle English, from Old English helpan; akin to Old High German helfan to help, and perhaps to Lithuanian šelpti
Date: before 12th century
1. to give assistance or support to <help a child with homework> 2. a. to make more pleasant or bearable ; improve, relieve <bright curtains will help the room> <took an aspirin to help her headache> b. archaic rescue, save 3. a. to be of use to ; benefit b. to further the advancement of ; promote 4. a. to change for the better b. to refrain from ; avoid <we couldn't help laughing> c. to keep from occurring ; prevent <they couldn't help the accident> d. to restrain (oneself) from doing something <knew they shouldn't go but couldn't help themselves> 5. to serve with food or drink especially at a meal <told the guests to help themselves> 6. to appropriate something for (oneself) <helped himself to the car keys> intransitive verb 1. give assistance or support — often used with out <helps out with the housework> 2. to be of use or benefit Synonyms: see improve II. noun Date: before 12th century 1. aid, assistance 2. a source of aid <printed helps to the memory — C. S. Braden> 3. remedy, relief <there was no help for it> 4. a. one who serves or assists another (as in housework) ; helper b. employee <help wanted> — often used collectively <the hired help>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.