cannot help doing

can't help (doing something)

1. To have a compulsion to do something that is too strong to ignore or avoid. 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!
2. To have no control over or be unable to avoid some action. I know you're irritated, but they couldn't help arriving late—the whole city is locked in a traffic jam. I know it's silly, but I can't help feeling like I failed you somehow.
See also: help
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cannot help doing something

not able to refrain from doing something; not able not to do something. Anne is such a good cook, I can't help eating everything she serves. Since John loves to shop, he can't help spending money.
See also: cannot, help
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in classic literature ?
"These things the oligarchs will do because they cannot help doing them.
Some bosses cannot help doing or trying to do their subordinates' jobs as well as their own.
``But this is something which I cannot help doing. My daughter shouts at me because I am just upsetting myself further by watching the video but I cannot stop myself.
Asked to comment on a sharp decline in the number of public phones, Miura said NTT East will maintain public phones required under the law but cannot help doing away with other public phones.
Unlike, say, the work of Sherman--which effectively insinuates a mode of reflexivity into an intermedia space--Taylor-Wood's photographic works simply do not articulate the terms of their hybridized medium, no matter how internally contradictory it is; her pared-down films and videos, on the other hand, almost cannot help doing so.
Those (few) who do things well are "serious" (spoudaios) about their lives; they make the "object of conscious attention, the 'political' integration and reconciliation of demands and opportunities that animals with a sense of time cannot help doing anyway" (52).
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