Help vs Comply - What's the difference?

help | comply |

As verbs the difference between help and comply

is that help is to provide assistance to (someone or something) while comply is to yield assent; to accord; agree, or acquiesce; to adapt one's self; to consent or conform.

As a noun help

is (uncountable) action given to provide assistance; aid.



Etymology 1

From (etyl), from (etyl) .


  • (uncountable) Action given to provide assistance; aid.
  • I need some help with my homework.
  • (usually, uncountable) Something or someone which provides assistance with a task.
  • He was a great help to me when I was moving house.
    I've printed out a list of math helps .
  • Documentation provided with computer software, etc. and accessed using the computer.
  • I can't find anything in the help about rotating an image.
  • (usually, uncountable) One or more people employed to help in the maintenance of a house or the operation of a farm or enterprise.
  • The help is coming round this morning to clean.
    Most of the hired help is seasonal, for the harvest.
  • (uncountable, euphemistic) Correction of deficits, as by psychological counseling or medication or social support or remedial training.
  • His suicide attempts were a cry for help .
    He really needs help in handling customer complaints.
    ''"He's a real road-rager." / "Yup, he really needs help , maybe anger management."
    Usage notes
    The sense "people employed to help in the maintenance of a house" is usually an uncountable mass noun. A countable form - "a hired help''", "''two hired helps " - is attested, but now less common.
    * (action given to provide assistance) aid, assistance * (person or persons who provide assistance) * (person employed to help in the maintenance of a house)
    Derived terms
    * cry for help * help desk * helpful * helpless * helpline * helply * helpmate * helpmeet * helpsome * home help * self-help

    Etymology 2

    From (etyl) helpen, from (etyl) . Cognate with (etyl) .


  • To provide assistance to (someone or something).
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-06-22, volume=407, issue=8841, page=76, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Snakes and ladders , passage=Risk is everywhere.
  • To contribute in some way to.
  • To provide assistance.
  • * {{quote-book, year=1963, author=(Margery Allingham), title=(The China Governess)
  • , chapter=19 citation , passage=As soon as Julia returned with a constable, Timothy, who was on the point of exhaustion, prepared to give over to him gratefully. The newcomer turned out to be a powerful youngster, fully trained and eager to help , and he stripped off his tunic at once.}}
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-06-29, volume=407, issue=8842, page=72-3, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= A punch in the gut , passage=Mostly, the microbiome is beneficial. It helps with digestion and enables people to extract a lot more calories from their food than would otherwise be possible. Research over the past few years, however, has implicated it in diseases from atherosclerosis to asthma to autism.}}
  • To avoid; to prevent; to refrain from; to restrain (oneself). Usually used in nonassertive contexts with can .
  • Usage notes
    * Use 3 is often used in the imperative mood as a call for assistance. * In uses 1, 2 and 3, this is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive . It can also take the bare infinitive with no change in meaning. * In use 4, can't help is a catenative verb that takes the gerund (-ing) or, with but, the bare infinitive. * For more information, see
    * (provide assistance to) aid, assist, come to the aid of, help out * (contribute in some way to) contribute to * (provide assistance) assist
    Derived terms
    * a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down * can't help * helper * helping * help oneself * help out




  • To yield assent; to accord; agree, or acquiesce; to adapt one's self; to consent or conform.
  • * (John Milton) (1608-1674)
  • Yet this be sure, in nothing to comply , / Scandalous or forbidden in our law.
  • * (John Tillotson) (1630-1694)
  • They did servilely comply with the people in worshiping God by sensible images.
  • * 1664? , , (Hudibras)
  • He that complies against his will / Is of his own opinion still.
  • *{{quote-book, year=1922, author=(Ben Travers)
  • , chapter=6, title= A Cuckoo in the Nest , passage=But Sophia's mother was not the woman to brook defiance. After a few moments' vain remonstrance her husband complied .}}
  • *
  • (label) To be ceremoniously courteous; to make one's compliments.
  • * 1599 , , II. ii. 371:
  • Let me comply with you in this / garb, lest my extent to the players, which I tell you must / show fairly outwards, should more appear like entertainment / than yours.
  • (label) To fulfill; to accomplish.
  • (Chapman)
  • (label) To enfold; to embrace.
  • * (1591-1674)
  • Seemed to comply , / Cloudlike, the daintie deitie.

    Usage notes

    * Usually followed by "with".


    * violate