Definition of “help” - English Dictionary

“help” in British English

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helpverb

uk /help/ us /help/

help verb (MAKE EASIER)

A1 [ I or T ] to make it possible or easier for someone to do something, by doing part of the work yourself or by providing advice, money, support, etc.:

How can I help you?
I wonder if you could help me - I'd like some information about flights to New Zealand.
My dad said he would help with the costs of (= give part of the cost of) buying a house.
[ + obj + (to) infinitive ] The $10,000 loan from the bank helped her (to) start her own business.
I feel that learning English will help (= improve) my chances of promotion at work.
Nothing can help her now (= her situation is too bad for anyone to be able to improve it).
See also

B2 [ I or T ] If something helps a difficult or painful situation, it improves it or makes it easier or less painful:

The morphine didn't seem to help (the pain).

[ + (to) infinitive ] If something or someone helps to do something, that thing or person is one of several reasons for it happening:

The drought has helped (to) make this a disastrous year for Somalia.

More examples

  • The college now has a counsellor to help students with both personal and work problems.
  • We've got to enlist some people to help prepare the food.
  • Could I have a glass of water to help these pills go down ?
  • It's kind of you to offer to help.
  • She derived great satisfaction from helping other people.

help verb (GIVE/TAKE)

B1 [ T ] to give something to someone:

Can I help you to some more soup?

More examples

  • Feel free to help yourself to coffee.
  • "May I help myself to some more food?" "Yes, of course."
  • I wish my lodger would ask before helping himself to my food.
  • My daughter just helps herself to anything she fancies from my wardrobe - usually my only good clothes!
  • I'm not sure whether we should be helping ourselves to these snacks - perhaps they're meant for later.

helpnoun

uk /help/ us /help/

A2 [ U ] the act of helping another person:

Do you need any help with those boxes?
Her parents gave her some help with her bank loan (= paid some of it).

B2 [ S ] something or someone that helps:

Having a satnav would be a help.
He was a great help (to me) while my husband was away.

[ C ] UK old-fashioned someone who is employed to clean and do other small jobs:

a home help
the help old-fashioned

a person or the people employed to work in someone's home doing cleaning, cooking, caring for children, etc.

More examples

  • The earthquake survivors are in desperate need of help.
  • If you can just hold on I'll go and get some help.
  • We really appreciate all the help you gave us last weekend.
  • More help is needed for people on low incomes.
  • If you need any help, please don't hesitate to ask.

helpexclamation

uk /help/ us /help/

(Definition of “help” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“help” in American English

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helpverb

us /help/

help verb (MAKE EASIER)

[ I/T ] to make it possible or easier for someone to do something:

[ T ] How can I help you?
[ T ] Please help those less fortunate than you are.
[ + to infinitive ] Avoiding fatty foods and salt can help to bring down your blood pressure.

[ I/T ] If something helps a difficult or painful situation, it improves it or makes it easier or less painful:

[ T ] Aspirin will help relieve the pain.

[ I/T ] You shout "Help!" in an emergency when you need the immediate support of someone else.

help verb (GIVE/TAKE)

[ T ] to serve something to someone, or to take something for yourself:

Help yourself to more cake.

Idiom(s)

Phrasal verb(s)

helpnoun [ U ]

us /help/

help noun [ U ] (ACT OF HELPING)

the act of making it possible or easier for someone to do something:

Do you need help with those boxes?
My parents gave us financial help when we bought our first house.

(Definition of “help” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“help” in Business English

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helpnoun [ U ]

uk /help/ us WORKPLACE

workers who are employed for a short time during periods when there is a lot of work:

We often take on help during the busy season.

(Definition of “help” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)