Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


someone whose job is to help another person in their work

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun aide comes from French. The French ‘aide’ means an assistant, but it was first used in English as part of the compound noun ‘aide-de-camp’, and the English noun aide is probably a shortening of that. ‘Aide-de-camp’ is first recorded in the late 17th century, aide alone in the mid 18th.


In current usage an aide is someone who helps another person in their work. The term is used today overhwelmingly in political contexts: the example in Macmillan Dictionary is ‘a senior aide to the Prime Minister‘. The term’s origin, aide-de-camp, is a military officer whose job is to help an officer of higher rank. Another compound noun formed with aide is aide-memoire, something that helps you remember something. While aide is pronounced the same as ‘aid’, the two compounds have retained traces of their French origin in their pronunciation. In the US a home help aide is someone whose job is to care for people in their homes. ‘Home help aide‘ is a recent entry in our crowdsourced Open Dictionary. You can submit your own entries here.


The prime minister’s key aide is mired in a spiraling scandal where he’s accused of breaking the country’s lockdown rules, the same ones he helped craft.

Teacher aides throughout South Canterbury have welcomed a proposed pay settlement which will mean some will get wage increase over the next five years of up to 28 per cent.

Related words

accomplice, accolyte, factotum, fixer, wingman

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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