help (oneself) (to something)

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help (oneself) (to something)

To serve oneself (something); to take, consume, or indulge in (something) freely or without permission or restraint. There's plenty of food in the kitchen, so please, help yourselves to more. The vagrant they had given shelter to for the night helped himself to the family's prized set of silverware. The maps at the information kiosk are free, so tourists are welcome to help themselves.
See also: help
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

help

 (someone or an animal) (get) over something
1. Lit. to aid someone or an animal climb over something. I helped him get over the wall. I helped the puppy over the barrier.
2. Fig. to aid someone or an animal recover from something. Sharon wanted to help Roger get over his illness. We try to help the families get over the loss of their loved ones.

help

oneself (to something) to take something oneself without asking permission. The thief helped himself to the money in the safe. Help yourself to more dessert.

Help yourself.

Please take what you want without asking permission. Sally: Can I have one of these doughnuts? Bill: Help yourself. Mother led the little troop of my friends to the kitchen table, which was covered with cups of juice and plates of cookies. "Help yourself," she said.
See also: help
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

help oneself

1. Make an effort on one's own behalf. Shakespeare used this expression in 2 Henry IV (3:2): "She is old, and cannot help herself," and it also appears in the old proverb, God (or heaven) helps those who help themselves. [First half of 1500s] Also see can't help.
2. Serve oneself, as in The food's in the kitchen; just help yourself. When it takes an object this phrase is put as help oneself to, as in I helped myself to more meat. It also is used as a euphemism for stealing, as in She simply helped herself to the hotel towels and left. The first usage dates from the late 1600s; the second, a colloquialism, from the mid-1800s.
See also: help
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
If she won't give me the information I want, the conclusion is obvious -- I must help myself.
'Yes,' he replied, 'I know enough, and can help myself splendidly.'
She had already secretly disobeyed him by asking her father to help them, and he had ended decisively by saying, "I am more likely to want help myself."
"I know it,--I dare say;--but what's the use of all this?--I can't help myself."
Shelby; "and I respect your feelings, too, though I don't pretend to share them to their full extent; but I tell you now, solemnly, it's of no use--I can't help myself. I didn't mean to tell you this Emily; but, in plain words, there is no choice between selling these two and selling everything.
I couldn't help myself. It was no use complaining to my sister Therese.
Seeing, as she patted the pillow into its place on the bolster, that he was still looking at her as if waiting for the rest of her reply, she gave it a great poke in the middle, and asked, 'How could I help myself?'
'I can't help myself!' cried Mr Boffin, flouncing on the settle in a forlorn manner, with his hands deep in his pockets, as if his pockets had sunk.
"I'm so awfully fond of you that I can't help myself."
"I hadn't the least idea of selling my hair at first, but as I went along I kept thinking what I could do, and feeling as if I'd like to dive into some of the rich stores and help myself. In a barber's window I saw tails of hair with the prices marked, and one black tail, not so thick as mine, was forty dollars.
Having in vain attempted to raise his hand to his eyes, he said to Wamba, who, seeing his master's ill humour had prudently retreated to the rear, ``I pray thee, do me the kindness to wipe my eyes with the skirt of thy mantle; the dust offends me, and these bonds will not let me help myself one way or another.''
I did not want a helpmeet; I can help myself. Nor did I expect to be loved devotedly, for the race has not yet evolved a man lovable on thorough acquaintance; even my self-love is neither thorough nor constant.
"Why, monsieur the superintendent, I only want one valet de chambre, for my part, and even if I were alone, could help myself very well; but you, you who have so many enemies -- a hundred men are not enough for me to defend you with.
But he held me tight, so I stopped because I could not help myself. Next second, however, /his/ eyes became accustomed to the light, and he let go of me, and began to mop the perspiration off his forehead.
I can't help myself. When a man falls into the water it doesn't matter how he swims, well or badly: he's got to get out or else he'll drown."