can't help

(redirected from can't help but)

can't help (doing something)

A phrase used when one feels very strongly compelled to do something. The verb used after "help" typically ends in "-ing." We can't help intervening here, before you throw your life away on drugs! My mom can't help meddling in my love life, even though I'm 30 years old!
See also: help

can't help

Also, can't help but or cannot but . Be unable to do otherwise. For example, I can't help thinking that the keys will turn up eventually, or He couldn't help but believe he would pass the entrance exam, or I cannot but applaud his efforts. The first of these phrases, can't help, is always followed by a present participle whereas the others take an infinitive. [c. 1700]
See also: help