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verb \ə-ˈvāl\

Simple Definition of avail

  • : to be useful or helpful to (someone or something)

Full Definition of avail

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to be of use or advantage :  serve <our best efforts did not avail>

  3. transitive verb
  4. :  to produce or result in as a benefit or advantage :  gain <his efforts availed him nothing>

avail oneself of also avail of
  1. :  to make use of :  take advantage of <they availed themselves of his services>

Examples of avail

  1. In such a Hobbesian world, grand idealistic designs will avail the United States nothing. Nor will a quest for American dominance in the name of the good. —Laura Secor, New York Times Book Review, 26 June 2005

  2. Soon middle-class girls were slipping into their starched white shirtwaists, marching into a place of business … and eventually standing up as private secretaries, bank tellers, accountants, and managers. So many, in fact, availed themselves of this new opportunity that by 1900 nearly 75 percent of all clerical workers in America were women (Bliven puts the number, in 1888, at 60,000); and for decades the typist and her machine were both called “typewriters.” —Arthur Krystal, Harper's, December 2002

  3. One comes away from the book stunned by the remarkable energy and willingness to resist that so many demonstrated but haunted by the recognition of how little that resistance availed. —Louis Menand, New Yorker, 25 Nov. 2002

  4. Our best efforts did not avail.

  5. <all your begging will not avail you in the least>

Origin of avail

Middle English, Anglo-French availler, probably from a- (from Latin ad-) + valer, valoir to be of worth, from Latin valēre — more at wield

First Known Use: 14th century



noun \ə-ˈvāl\

Simple Definition of avail

  • : help toward reaching a goal

Full Definition of avail

  1. :  advantage toward attainment of a goal or purpose :  use <effort was of little avail>

Examples of avail

  1. It seemed to be the national dish, as it appeared on every menu. It is a spicy pork or veal stew with tomatoes and onions and a little sour cream on top. It was fabulous, and I'm dying to get the recipe. I've spent hours looking for it on the internet to no avail. —Linda Walker, Cook's Country, June 1995

  2. In the 14th century the porcelain from China made its way westward along trade routes to Europe's rich and royal. The artisans of Europe tried to duplicate the Chinese formula and process, but to no avail. —Hattie Clark, Christian Science Monitor, 3 Aug. 1987

  3. <although I appreciate the concern, your help would be of little avail in this situation>

Origin of avail

(see 1avail)

First Known Use: 15th century

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February 5, 2016

bread traditionally eaten on Shabbat

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