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help (help), v., helped or (esp. Dial.) holp; helped or (esp. Dial.) hoLpen; help-ing; n.. interj. -v.t. 1. to contribute strength or means to; render assistance to; cooperate effectively with; aid; assist: He planned to help me with my work. 2. to save; rescue; succor: Help me. I'm falling! 3. to refrain from; avoid (usually prec. by can or cannot): He can't help doing it. 4. to relieve (someone) in need, sickness, pain, or distress. 5. to remedy, stop, or prevent. 6. to take or appropriate for oneself: They helped themselves to the farmer's apples. - v.i. 7. to give aid; be of service or advantage: Every little bit helps. 8. help out, to assist in an effort; be of aid to: Her relatives helped out when she became ill. 9. so help me, (used as a mild oath) I am speaking the truth; on my honor: that's exactly what happened, so help me. -n. 10. the act of helping; aid or assistance; relief or succor. 11. a person or thing that helps: She certainly is a help around the house. 12. a hired helper; employee. 13. a body of such helpers. 14. a means of remedying, stopping, or preventing: The thing is done, and there is no help for it now. 15. Dial. helping (def. 2) interj. 16. (used as an exclamation to call for assistance or to attract attention.) [ME helpe(n), OE helpan; c. G helfeni -help'a-ble, adj. -Syn. 1. encourage, befriend; support, uphold, back, abet. HELP, AID, ASSIST, SUCCOR agree in the idea of furnishing another with something needed, esp. when the need comes at a particular time. HELP implies furnishing anything that furthers another's efforts or relieves his wants or necessities. AID And ASSIST, Somewhat more formal, imply esp. a furthering or seconding of another's efforts. AID implies a more active helping; ASSIST implies less need and less help. To SUCCOR, Still more formal and literary, is to give timely help and relief in difficulty or distress: Succor him in his hour of need. 4. alleviate, cure. heal. 10. support, backing. -Ant. 4. afflict. 8. hinder. -Usage. Help but, in sentences like. She's so beautiful you can't help but admire her, has been condemned, esp. by British grammarians and purists. In American usage it can only be characterized as standard.