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”).
- Unable to defend oneself.
- 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.
- Unable to act without help; needing help; feeble.
- a helpless urge
- (obsolete) From which there is no possibility of being saved.
unable to defend oneself
unable to act without help
uncontrollable — see uncontrollable