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From Middle English helples, from Old English *helplēas (“helpless”), equivalent to help + -less. Compare Dutch hulpeloos (“helpless”), German hilflos (“helpless”), Swedish hjälplös (“helpless”).
He was helpless to find her.
I can't describe how helpless I felt.
Feeling helpless, he glanced again at the hourglass.
Piteous, helpless, animal moans came through the door.
By the door of one of these a sick man was lying upon a couch, helpless and pale.
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