• Help given during hard times


  • To administer aid; relieve


At some point in our lives, we've all needed help, and we've also given help to others. It is human nature to step in when needed. But the most inspiring acts of kindness are not just offers of assistance, but truly saving someone from desperation. This is no mere act of help, but one of succor.

When an individual finds themselves in a difficult situation, succor is either the support that is given to them, or a thing that provides them with that support. Succor can take the form of any kind of help, depending on the circumstances. It can be furnishing emotional or physical support or, more generally, giving advice, providing food or medicine, or helping someone move into a new apartment. However, it is most often used for its connotation of going further than simple kindness or a good deed, and supporting one in dire need.

Example: As Emily was still burdened with by student loans, her parents agreed to succor her as she financed her wedding.

Example: The city youth group's campaign to give succor to the homeless was so noteworthy that it was covered on the local news.


The noun form of succor comes from the Middle English word "socour," which appeared early in the 13th century and meant "aid" or "help." It then evolved into the Anglo-French "succors," having the same meaning, and the Old French "socors" and "sucurres," both of which meant "help" or "assistance." These led to the Medieval Latin term "succursus," which held roughly the same meaning. By the early 14th century, succor adopted its current English meaning of someone who aids or helps.

The verb form of succor came slightly later than the noun. By the late 13th century, the same verb originating from the Old French "succurre," meaning "to help" or "to assist," contributed to the Latin "succerrere," carrying the same definition. Succor took on its present verb form in Middle English.

Derivative Words

Succorable: This is the adjective form of succor, which describes a situation in which there is a need for help.

Example: The messy end to their marriage was a succorable sight.

Succored: This word is the past tense verb form of succor, describing a circumstance in which aid has been offered.

Example: Her fall from the stairs was succored by the ambulance's arrival.

Succoring: Succoring is the active verb form of succor, which illustrates a person or thing that is in the act of extending aid.

Example: His friends are succoring him through the loss of his father.

Succorer: (noun) This word describes a person who provides help during times of distress.

Example: Their doctor was the succorer they needed for undergoing fertility treatments.

In Literature

From Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote

"It is not the responsibility of knights errant to discover whether the afflicted, the enchained and the oppressed whom they encounter on the road are reduced to these circumstances and suffer this distress for their vices, or for their virtues: the knight's sole responsibility is to succor them as people in need, having eyes only for their sufferings, not for their misdeeds."

Here, Cervantes' narrator suggests that a good deed, or succor, ought to be done without regard to someone's past behavior. He suggests that true knightly conduct demands dispensing aid without question to those who need it.


  • Succor should be given to those who suffer.
  • To one who is hungry, supper is succor.



Bring out the linguist in you! What is your own interpretation of succor. Did you use succor in a game? Provide an example sentence or a literary quote.