1 of 2


availed; availing; avails

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.


2 of 2


: advantage toward attainment of a goal or purpose : use
Their effort was of little/no avail.
avail oneself of or less commonly avail of
: to make use of : to take advantage of
They availed themselves of his services.

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
Recent Examples on the Web
The Spotify competitors that have availed themselves of bundle reporting methods have done so for products that are bona fide bundles consisting of individually available services and products that hold a clear commercial value, and to which users actively elect to subscribe. Adam Parness, Billboard, 22 May 2024 In times of financial distress, companies have to avail themselves of every opportunity to avoid going under, to avoid wasting the effort and resources invested by its founders, as well as preserving jobs and value. William Mullane, USA TODAY, 12 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for avail 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'avail.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near avail

Cite this Entry

“Avail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/avail. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to be of use or help


2 of 2 noun
: help toward reaching a goal
effort of no avail

More from Merriam-Webster on avail

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