Etymology
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helping (n.)
"aid, assistance," late 13c., verbal noun from help (v.). Meaning "act of serving food" is from 1824; that of "a portion of food" is from 1883.
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help (v.)

Old English helpan "to help, support, succor; benefit, do good to; cure, amend" (transitive, class III strong verb; past tense healp, past participle holpen), from Proto-Germanic *helpanan (source also of Old Norse hjalpa, Old Frisian helpa, Middle Dutch and Dutch helpen, Old High German helfan, German helfen), a word of uncertain origin. Perhaps it is cognate with Lithuanian šelpiu, šelpti "to support, help."

The intransitive sense of "afford aid or assistance," is attested from early 13c. The word is recorded as a cry of distress from late 14c. The sense of "serve someone with food at table" (1680s) is translated from French servir "to help, stead, avail," and led to helping (n.) "portion of food."

Help yourself as an invitation, in reference to food, etc., is from 1894. Related: Helped (c. 1300). The Middle English past participle holpen survives in biblical and U.S. dialectal use.

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assistance (n.)
early 15c., "act of helping or aiding; help given, aid," from Old French assistance and Medieval Latin assistentia, from the respective verbs (see assist (v.)).
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prompt (n.)

early 15c., "readiness" (in phrase in prompte), from Latin promptus (see prompt (v.)). Meaning "hint, information suggested, act of prompting" is from 1590s. The computer sense of "message given by a computer requiring or helping the user to respond" is by 1977.

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morsel (n.)

late 13c., "a bite, mouthful; small piece of food, fragment," from Old French morsel (Modern French morceau) "small bite, portion, helping," diminutive of mors "a bite," from Latin morsum, neuter of morsus  "biting, a bite," past participle of mordēre "to bite," which is perhaps from an extended form of PIE root *mer- "to rub away, harm."

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advancement (n.)
c. 1300, avauncement, "a raising to a higher rank," also "promotion, assistance," from Old French avancement "advancement; profit, advance payment," from avancir "move forward" (see advance (v.)). Meaning "act of helping to move something forward" is from 1550s. The unetymological -d- is from 16c.
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serving (n.)

c. 1200, "action of serving," originally in reference to performing rites or worshipping (God or a pagan god), verbal noun from serve (v.). As "a helping of food" from 1769; earlier "the manner of carving at table" (c. 1400). Serving-board "table for serving food" is from mid-15c.

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seconds (n.)

c. 1600, "articles below the first quality," plural of second (n.) in the sense of "that which is after the first" (fingers, sons, Commandments, etc., early 14c.), from second (adj.). First attested in this sense in a Shakespeare sonnet. Meaning "second helping of food at a meal" is recorded from 1792.

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Underground Railroad (n.)
"network of U.S. anti-slavery activists helping runaways elude capture," attested from 1847, but said to date from 1831 and to have been coined in jest by bewildered trackers after their slaves vanished without a trace. Originally mostly the term for escape networks in the (then) western states of the U.S.
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Kiribati 
island nation in the Pacific, formerly Gilbert Islands and named for Capt. Thomas Gilbert, who arrived there 1788 after helping transport the first shipload of convicts to Australia. At independence in 1979 it took the current name, which represents the local pronunciation of Gilbert. Christmas Island, named for the date it was discovered by Europeans, is in the chain and now goes by Kiritimati, likewise a local pronunciation of the English name.
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