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.

Example Sentences

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
The city, in late 2020 and early 2021, attempted to prevent the closure but to not avail. al, 5 Nov. 2022 After checking in, participants can wander freely up and down Mount Vernon Avenue in search of music and drink specials, which vary by bar, or avail themselves of a trolley to move between locations. Briona Butler, Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2022 Emmett gives a sure-mom promise that does little to avail her of her worry. Robert Daniels, Time, 14 Oct. 2022 To maximize income, health systems can provide employees with a living wage or offer free tax preparation services for employees and patients to avail themselves of potentially thousands of dollars in tax credits. George Dalembert, STAT, 1 Oct. 2022 So far, there’s no indication that QNAP intends to avail itself of this opportunity. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 7 Sep. 2022 From deliveries becoming contactless and shifting to online platforms to avail services like e-fitting rooms, the change is evident across industries worldwide. Abheek Dutta, Forbes, 15 Apr. 2021 But the elephant in the law is whether or not tech giants will avail themselves of the protections and embrace being California companies. Anita Chabria, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2022 Still others continue to hunt for whatever opportunities avail themselves, no matter where the search might lead. Christopher Vourlias, Variety, 25 Aug. 2022
First responders attempted to help the man from further burning himself but to no avail. Tammy Murgareporter, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Nov. 2022 But docs also say that people incorrectly diagnose their hemorrhoids all the time and use OTC products to no avail. Elizabeth Millard, Men's Health, 21 Nov. 2022 His teacher, noticing him struggle with attendance and grades, sent repeated pleas for help to his resettlement agency, to no avail. Kartikay Mehrotra, ProPublica, 19 Nov. 2022 Many older couples in troubled marriages spend years trying to work things out with the help of counseling, often to no avail. Robert Weisman, BostonGlobe.com, 19 Nov. 2022 Cahaba Riverkeeper leader David Butler said this decision came after multiple years of the organization trying to stress the importance of protecting watershed lands to BWWB, to no avail. Heather Gann | Hgann@al.com, al, 18 Nov. 2022 Scenes that should be a snappy couple of minutes go on for several too long; plots that can barely stand on their own do their best to hold up entire episodes to no avail. Caroline Framke, Variety, 15 Nov. 2022 The plans ultimately fizzled, but Ms. Coyle became close to Birgit, encouraging her to socialize with classmates, to no avail. John Leland Rutu Modan, New York Times, 20 Oct. 2022 The company’s name was trending on social media all day as Swifties across Twitter complained about getting shut out of the presale, experiencing technical difficulties and/or waiting in the virtual queue for hours — sometimes to no avail. Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

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 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

avail 1 of 2


: to be of use or help
avail oneself of
: to make use of
availed themselves of his services


2 of 2


: help toward reaching a goal
effort of no avail

More from Merriam-Webster on avail

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