helpless

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Middle English helples, from Old English *helplēas (helpless) from Proto-Germanic *helpōlausaz, equivalent to help +‎ -less. Compare Dutch hulpeloos (helpless), German hilflos (helpless), Swedish hjälplös (helpless).

PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /ˈhɛlplɪs/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: help‧less

AdjectiveEdit

helpless (comparative more helpless, superlative most helpless)

  1. Unable to defend oneself.
  2. Lacking help; powerless.
    • 1966, James Workman, The Mad Emperor, Melbourne, Sydney: Scripts, page 41:
      A gaoler struck him, pushing him back in place in the hopeless, helpless line of prisoners.
  3. Unable to act without help; needing help; feeble.
  4. Uncontrollable.
    a helpless urge
  5. (obsolete) From which there is no possibility of being saved.

Derived termsEdit

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