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

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.


\ ə-ˈvāl How to pronounce avail (audio) \

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

advantage, benefit, help, profit, serve

Synonyms: Noun

account, mileage, service, serviceability, serviceableness, use, usefulness, utility

Antonyms: Noun

uselessness, worthlessness

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Examples of avail in a Sentence


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


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

Yet all that knowing didn’t stop me from availing myself of the alchemical wonders of hair dye. Longreads, "True Roots," 5 June 2019 Today regular people avail themselves of wizardly tools like smartphones to help inform decision-making around environmental impacts. Mary Ellen Hannibal, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘The Wizard and the Prophet,’ by Charles C. Mann," 12 Jan. 2018 To avail the discount, users will need to verify their age on Amazon.in’s official Android or iOS apps by uploading their PAN card, proof of mailing address, and a photo. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Indian shoppers aged 18-24 seem to be Amazon’s favourite," 12 July 2019 Lightfoot called on residents to get their water tested and to avail themselves of free filters the city offers to those who have had a meter installed. John Byrne, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says city won’t install more water meters till solution is found for lead problem," 8 July 2019 Stationary electric sources — power plants — cannot avail themselves of offsets. David Roberts, Vox, "New York just passed the most ambitious climate target in the country," 20 June 2019 At the conclusion of a session with infielders, Lombard availed himself to anyone who wanted extra work. Alex Speier, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Good luck getting a job somewhere else’: the time the Dodgers first base coach almost broke Rafael Devers," 13 July 2019 For there is certainly no barrier to an infinite number of women clicking the cobalt-blue letters@nytimes.com on their screens, or to women availing themselves of the same postal address that so many more men have heretofore copied down. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, "Fifty-Fifty Follies," 10 June 2019 Though lacking the power of exponentiation, a device like this can avail itself of other features of quantum physics. Quanta Magazine, "Job One for Quantum Computers: Boost Artificial Intelligence," 29 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Several pro-democratic legislators tried to calm the crowds to no avail. Los Angeles Times, "Chaos at Hong Kong airport as protests turn violent, disrupting flights for second day," 13 Aug. 2019 During their Chicago visit last week, Chuck and Steve tried to locate the orphanage, listed in the correspondence as 68 Center St., but to no avail. Heidi Stevens, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Before she died, his wife planned out her memorial tour. Now he’s following it to a T — college bars and all," 9 Aug. 2019 In 2015, Albania manager Gianna de Biasi contacted Ajeti about playing for the country in their Euro 2016 qualifiers, but to no avail. SI.com, "Albian Ajeti: 5 Things to Know About West Ham's New Swiss Striker," 9 Aug. 2019 The 21-year veteran of the F.B.I. appealed to senior career officials at the Justice Department, to no avail. Katie Benner, New York Times, "Andrew McCabe’s Civil Lawsuit Against the F.B.I. and Justice Department," 8 Aug. 2019 The 21-year veteran of the FBI appealed to senior career officials at the Justice Department, to no avail. Katie Benner, BostonGlobe.com, "Andrew McCabe, former FBI deputy director, sues government over firing," 8 Aug. 2019 Officers made several attempts to make contact with Ruvido to no avail. Fox News, "California police officer accused of soliciting minor for sex found dead in apparent suicide, cops say," 6 Aug. 2019 Mariee spent the next six weeks at New Jersey and Philadelphia hospitals where doctors and specialists tried, to no avail, to save the girl, whose lungs had collapsed from a respiratory infection, the suit said. Guillermo Contreras, ExpressNews.com, "Mother of toddler who died after stay at immigrant jail in Dilley sues for $40 million in San Antonio," 1 Aug. 2019 In audio shared on the sheriff's office's Facebook page, a woman is heard telling the dispatcher that the alarm company tried to make contact with the homeowner, to no avail. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, "A bodycam caught a deputy shooting a man in his South Carolina home. It contradicts the initial police narrative," 30 July 2019

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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Statistics for avail

Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for avail

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

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More Definitions for avail



English Language Learners Definition of avail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

literary : 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on avail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with avail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for avail

Spanish Central: Translation of avail

Nglish: Translation of avail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of avail for Arabic Speakers

Comments on avail

What made you want to look up avail? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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