Middle English Dictionary Entry

helpen v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

1.
(a) To give aid or assistance to (sb. or sth.), be an assistant to (sb.); help (sb. to do sth.), help (sth. be done); ~ aloft (up), help (sb.) up; ~ doun with, help (sb.) get (sth.) down; ~ hom, help (sb.) reach home; ~ out, help (sb.) out of trouble; ~ to (toward), help (sb.) toward (a place, person, condition); (b) to be of aid or assistance; help (that sth. be done); ~ after, help along; ~ to (for, forto), help to (do or bring about sth.), help in (doing sth.); ~ that, help that (sth. be done or happen); (c) refl. to act on one's own behalf, exert oneself; (d) ppl. as adj. helpinge, helpful, favorable; helping bon, the humerus; helpinge grace (hond).
2.
(a) To give military assistance; give military aid to (sb.), ally with (sb.), assist (sb.) in a fight; also fig.; (b) to save; save (sb. or sth.), rescue, preserve; ~ lif; ~ soule; God help, alas!; (c) to give spiritual aid; give grace to (sb.); (d) in asseverations: so me Crist help, etc.
3.
(a) To be of avail, be of use, be effective; be of use to (sb.), effect (sth.); (b) to care for (sb.), cure (sb. of wounds or sickness); cure (disease), set (bones); (c) to relieve (distress, anxiety, love); relieve (sb. of distress, hunger, anxiety), give alms to (sb.); improve (land), ameliorate (conditions), amend (a bad situation); (d) ppl. as adj. helpinge, useful, efficacious, beneficial.
4.
(a) To support (sb. or sth.), encourage, advise, agree with; conspire with (sb.); ~ to sweren, support (sb.) on oath, act as compurgator for (sb.); (b) to make provision; provide for (sb.); enrich (sb.), promote; help (sb. to do sth.), provide (sb.) the wherewithal (to do sth.); (c) to further (some natural process); enable (sb. to perform a natural process); (d) to be present, take part; ~ at (to), be present at, take part in (sth.); (e) ppl. as adj. helpinge, supporting, encouraging, stimulating; chapitre helping, supplementary chapter.
5.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • ?a1450 Agnus Castus (Stockh 10.90)168/4 : It confortyʒt and helpeth too synwes þat are sore.
  • Note: Sense 3.(a) Is only ex. of ~ to in this sense. Might be useful to call attention in gloss. [There is also a ~ ayenes (a1398)--per MJW

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: Med., etc. (sense 1.(d)), see further J.Norri, Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary, s.v. helping bone.