Etymology
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helpless (adj.)
"unable to act for oneself," c. 1200, from help (n.) + -less. Related: Helplessly; helplessness. In Middle English and later sometimes "unable to give help, affording no help" (late 14c.), but this never was common.
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nidicolous (adj.)

of birds, "bearing young which are helpless at birth," 1896, from Modern Latin Nidicolae (1894), the zoologists' collective name for the species of birds having the young born in a more or less helpless condition, unable to leave the nest for some time and fed directly by the parent, from Latin nidus "nest" (see nest (n.)) + colere "to inhabit" (see colony). Contrasted to nidifugous birds (1902), whose young are well-developed and leave the nest at birth (from Latin fugere "to flee").

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strand (v.)
1620s, "to drive aground on a shore," from strand (n.1); figurative sense of "leave helpless," as of a ship left aground by the tide, is first recorded 1837. Related: Stranded; stranding.
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debilitative (adj.)

"tending to render weak or infirm," 1680s, with -ive + Latin debilitat-, stem of debilis "lame, disabled, crippled," figuratively "weak, helpless," from de "from, away" (see de-) + -bilis "strength," from PIE root *bel-"strong" (see Bolshevik). 

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debilitate (v.)

"weaken, impair the strength of, enfeeble, make inactive or languid," 1530s, from Latin debilitatus, past participle of debilitare "to weaken," from debilis "weak, helpless," from de "from, away" (see de-) + -bilis "strength," from PIE root *bel- "strong" (see Bolshevik). Related: Debilitated; debilitating.

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misunderstanding (n.)

"want of understanding, mistake as to the meaning of something," mid-15c., misunderstonding, verbal noun from misunderstand.

When misunderstanding serves others as an advantage, one is helpless to make oneself understood .... [Lionel Trilling, "Art and Fortune," 1948]

Meaning "dissension, a disagreement, a quarrel" is recorded by 1640s.

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paralyze (v.)

1804, "affect with paralysis," from French paralyser (16c.), from Old French paralisie "paralysis," from Latin paralysis (see paralysis). Figurative use "render helpless, useless, or ineffective; deaden the action or power of" is from 1805. Related: Paralyzed; paralyzing. Paralized as a past-participle adjective is from early 15c.

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exhaust (v.)
1530s, "to draw off or out, to use up completely," from Latin exhaustus, past participle of exhaurire "draw off, take away, use up, empty," from ex "off" (see ex-) + haurire "to draw up" (as water), from PIE *heusio- "to scoop." Meaning "make weak or helpless, as by fatigue" is from 1630s. Related: Exhausted; exhausting; exhaustible.
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debility (n.)

"state or condition of being weak or feeble, lack of strength or vigor," early 15c., from Old French debilite (Modern French débilité) or directly from Latin debilitatem (nominative debilitas) "a laming, crippling, weakening," from debilis "lame, disabled, crippled," figuratively "weak, helpless," from de "from, away" (see de-) + -bilis "strength," from PIE root *bel- "strong" (see Bolshevik).

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debilitation (n.)

early 15c., debilitacioun, "physical weakness, state of being enfeebled," from French débilitation (13c.) and directly from Latin debilitationem (nominative debilitatio) "a laming, crippling, weakening," noun of action from past-participle stem of debilitare "to weaken," from debilis "weak, helpless," from de "from, away" (see de-) + -bilis "strength," from PIE root *bel- "strong" (see Bolshevik). From 1520s as "action of rendering weak."

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