\ ə-ˈvāl How to pronounce avail (audio) \
availed; availing; avails

Definition of avail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to be of use or advantage : serve Our best efforts did not avail.

transitive verb

: to produce or result in as a benefit or advantage : gain His efforts availed him nothing.
avail oneself of or less commonly avail of
: to make use of : to take advantage of They availed themselves of his services.



Definition of avail (Entry 2 of 2)

: advantage toward attainment of a goal or purpose : use Their effort was of little/no avail.

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Synonyms & Antonyms for avail

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of avail in a Sentence

Verb 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 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 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 Our best efforts did not avail. all your begging will not avail you in the least Noun 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 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 although I appreciate the concern, your help would be of little avail in this situation
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Peters and the other senators said that veterans between the ages of 18 to 34 have the highest suicide rates among former service members and that many of them don't avail themselves of VA mental health resources. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, 5 Sep. 2021 And, with the absence of Black midwives, Black communities became even less likely to avail themselves of midwife services. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, 4 Sep. 2021 The group uses food handouts to convince homeless people to avail themselves of units in the organization’s 12 apartment complexes. Renee Ghert-zand, sun-sentinel.com, 24 Aug. 2021 But Guy can’t even avail himself of those dumb, blunt freedoms. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 13 Aug. 2021 Over the next month, outreach teams will comb the central city’s streets with the overarching goal of contacting and persuading people living outside to avail themselves of expanding shelter beds and services. Michael Smolens Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 June 2021 Employees can avail themselves to upskilling opportunities and financial assistance for taking courses in high-demand areas. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 19 May 2021 And just in general, whenever possible, always — avail yourself of opportunities not to take other people and their behaviors personally. Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2021 The Covid-19 pandemic not only forced people to work from their homes but also to avail themselves of health services online. Aayushi Pratap, Forbes, 27 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At her request, the dispatcher checked to make sure the time was correct, putting her on hold for 10 minutes, to no avail. Colin Campbell, baltimoresun.com, 3 Sep. 2021 Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Miller, Harry Belafonte and composer Dmitry Shostakovich led calls for Mr. Theodorakis’ release, to no avail. BostonGlobe.com, 3 Sep. 2021 Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Miller, Harry Belafonte and the composer Dmitri Shostakovich led calls for Mr. Theodorakis’s release, to no avail. New York Times, 2 Sep. 2021 The siblings have searched records and tried getting more information from the adoption agency, St. Vincent Catholic Charities, but to no avail. Minnah Arshad, Detroit Free Press, 1 Sep. 2021 Later in the clip, Blunt attempts to pull a different prop out of the water with a large rope while on the boat, but to no avail. Abigail Adams, PEOPLE.com, 27 Aug. 2021 The Dodgers, meanwhile, made loud contact twice against Snell to no avail. Los Angeles Times, 26 Aug. 2021 Advocacy groups have been urging the Justice Department to rescind the legal memo, but to no avail. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, 26 Aug. 2021 The bird tries to defend itself by pecking at the tortoise’s face and flapping its wings, to no avail. Matt Simon, Wired, 23 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'avail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of avail


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for avail

Verb and Noun

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

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Time Traveler for avail

Time Traveler

The first known use of avail was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Avail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/avail. Accessed 18 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for avail



English Language Learners Definition of avail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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



English Language Learners Definition of avail (Entry 2 of 2)

: help toward reaching a goal


\ ə-ˈvāl How to pronounce avail (audio) \
availed; availing

Kids Definition of avail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to be of use or help
2 : to make use of Many employees availed themselves of the free health services.



Kids Definition of avail (Entry 2 of 2)

: help toward reaching a goal : use Our work was of little avail.

More from Merriam-Webster on avail

Nglish: Translation of avail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of avail for Arabic Speakers


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