Share this entry

Share this page

helpless

Syllabification: help·less
Pronunciation: /ˈhelpləs
 
/

Definition of helpless in English:

adjective

1Unable to defend oneself or to act without help: the cubs are born blind and helpless
More example sentences
  • I am a police captain and feel totally helpless as I am unable to help my city and my family.
  • Why do we decide it is none of our business or that we are helpless to do anything about it?
  • Is there anything worse than watching someone you love have to suffer while you're helpless to do anything to help?
Synonyms
dependent, incapable, powerless, impotent, weak;
defenseless, vulnerable, exposed, unprotected, open to attack;
paralyzed, disabled
1.1Uncontrollable: they burst into helpless laughter
More example sentences
  • Within moments, we would be dissolved into hopeless, helpless, joyful laughter.
  • These three had the same effect on me as she had on Prince Charles: they reduced me to helpless laughter.
  • I used to read it aloud to my little brother, and we'd collapse into helpless laughter.

Derivatives

helplessly

1
adverb
Example sentences
  • Residents watched helplessly as their gardens were overrun by filth.
  • A couple watched helplessly as firefighters tackled a blaze which swept through their home.
  • Horrified onlookers watched helplessly as the victims died behind the impenetrable window barriers.

helplessness

2
noun
Example sentences
  • My anger and moral outrage lit like a match, burning bright then fading in to bewilderment and helplessness.
  • The whole group, in a storm of indignation and helplessness, rose to leave the meeting.
  • Those close to the addict feel a helplessness surrounded by depression and hurt.

Definition of helpless in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day peart
Pronunciation: pɪət
adjective
lively; cheerful