Helpful Synonym Guide — Definition, Antonyms & Examples

A synonym is a word or phrase with the same or nearly the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms help improve your vocabulary and provide you with alternative words for another. What’s a synonym for helpful?

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    In this guide, you’ll learn the synonyms and antonyms for the word ‘helpful.’

    The Definition of Helpful

    Helpful is an English adjective. It is from Middle English helpful; equivalent to help +‎ -ful, Old English help “assistance, succor,” and Proto-Germanic *helpo. -ful is aword-forming element attached to nouns, meaning “full of, having or characterized by.”

    Helpful means “furnishing help; giving aid; useful, rendering assistance. Something helpful is of service or assistance. 

    Sentence Examples

    • You’ve been so helpful; I can’t thank you enough.
    • Sarah is always courteous and helpful.
    • That’s the most helpful book.
    • He did the most helpful thing of all.
    • I saw Claude today, and he was most helpful to me.
    • This book is a work of art and much more helpful than a textbook.
    • We are so helpful to our children.
    • It was helpful to hear you talk about your struggles.
    • I pride myself on being helpful.

    Synonym for Helpful — Exploring words with Similar Meanings

    Words with similar meanings to the word ‘helpful’ are obliging, cooperative, accommodating, forthcoming, caring, supportive, and beneficial. Other terms related to helpful are: considerate, neighborly, and sympathetic.

    1. Obliging

    Obliging is the present participle adjective of oblige. It means “willing or eager to do service or favors.”

    • Deborah was very obliging at the party.
    • John and Cindy are the most obliging couple I know.

    2. Cooperative

    Cooperative is from Late Latin cooperat-, past participle stem of cooperari “to work together.” Cooperative means “operating or striving jointly for the attaining of certain ends.” It also means “ready to work with another person or in a team”.

    • Jacinta is very cooperative, I love working with her.
    • The success of this project depends on how cooperative everyone is.

    3. Beneficial

    ‘Beneficial’ originates from Late Latin beneficiālis (“beneficial”), Latin beneficium (“benefit, favor, kindness”). It means being helpful or reasonable to something or someone.

    • A balanced diet and regular exercise are beneficial for healthy living.
    • Not all insects are harmful; there are several beneficial ones.

    4. Forthcoming

    Forthcoming is derived from forth (“forwards”) + coming (“approaching), or from Middle English forth commyng. Forthcoming is an adjective that describes the quality of being available when needed, willing to cooperate or provide information, candid, frank, and responsive.

    • Daniel is always forthcoming.
    • Tina wasn’t forthcoming with the plan; I had to look for someone else to help.

    5. Supportive

    Supportive is from support +‎ -ive. Support originates from Old French suporter “to bear, endure, sustain,” and Latin supportare “convey, carry.” -ive is a word-forming element making adjectives from verbs.

    It means “pertaining to, tending to.” Supportive describes the quality of being able to provide support.

    • I admire that Maria is still supportive of her husband despite all his flaws.
    • Thompson is a supportive young man; his inputs led to the successful completion of our project.

    Antonyms for Helpful — Exploring Words with Opposite Meanings

    1. Unhelpful

    Unhelpful is from un- + helpful. Un- is a prefix of negation. Unhelpful means ‘not helpful; offering no assistance.’

    • The waiters at the restaurant were rude and unhelpful; we had to leave.
    • The security guard was very unhelpful.

    2. Unfavorable

    Unfavorable is from un- + favorable. Un- means ‘not.’ Favorable is from Old French favorable “well-disposed, partial,” and Latin favorabilis “favored, in favor.” Unfavorable connotes “expressing or showing a lack of approval or support.”

    • The unfavorable reviews Jerry received about his novel discouraged him from writing another.
    • The weather was unfavorable, so we canceled our plans for the day.

    3. Unfriendly

    Unfriendly is from un- “not” + friendly. Also, from Middle English unfrendly, unfrendli, unfrendely, and Old English *unfrēondlīċ. It means “not friendly, hostile, mean.”

    • Patrick was unfriendly to me.
    • I couldn’t ask Gina for help because she looked unfriendly.
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    To Wrap Up

    Helpful is an English word that describes something of service or assistance. A common synonym for helpful is ‘beneficial.’ Other words with similar meanings are: obliging, cooperative, accommodating, forthcoming, and supportive.

    The antonyms for ‘helpful’ include “unhelpful,” “unfavorable,” and “unfriendly.”

    Helpful Synonym Guide — Definition, Antonyms & Examples

    Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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