\ 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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Incidentally, lacking any particular faith in magic, Nina also attempted to avail herself of other options. Sarah Vitali, Harper's magazine, "Kill Your Darlings," 10 May 2019 As barriers to inherent progress, mountains have always forced travelers to slow down and mingle with the communities that cling to them and, more often than not, to avail themselves of a stranger’s kindness. National Geographic, "Why the world’s most daunting mountains inspire me," 11 Apr. 2019 None of that availed him much here, in a work that little rewards understatement or great subtlety. New York Times, "Review: We Held Our Breath Through Simon Rattle’s Mahler," 8 May 2018 When hockey availed itself Huizenga already had been immersed in the Marlins. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "Miami sports fans owe a whole lot of gratitude to the one man they too often vilify," 19 Jan. 2018 Admission is free on Wednesdays, a perk that neighbors often avail themselves of, residents said. New York Times, "West Farms, the Bronx: Flora, Fauna and Renewal," 13 June 2018 Tracing guns that fall outside of the traditional manufacturing paradigm would require all 3D-printers to register with the federal government—or at least avail themselves to law enforcement agencies if ever necessary. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Researcher Discovers Way to Trace 3D-Printed Guns—With a Few Caveats," 15 Oct. 2018 For those who need more cores, memory, or PCIe lanes, avail yourselves of a new batch of X-series chips. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Intel goes up to 8 cores for mainstream chips, with a 28 core overclockable Xeon," 8 Oct. 2018 By the way, Medicaid beneficiaries on all the evidence are more likely to avail themselves of emergency room visits, so forget about bending the cost curve. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "ObamaCare’s Red State Trap," 29 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

First responders tried to save Brandyn Paonessa but to no avail. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al.com, "Man killed by shotgun blast in domestic incident was Fort Benning sergeant," 17 June 2019 Over the next three decades, detectives investigated hundreds of leads, to no avail. Gene Johnson, The Seattle Times, "Man on trial in killings arrested through genetic genealogy," 13 June 2019 After Pruitt left, Tarver questioned former emergency manager Peggy Hinckley to no avail. Carole Carlson, Post-Tribune, "Mom still looking for daughters’ Gary track trophies," 12 June 2019 Her parents begged for a postponement, to no avail. Aubrey Whelan, https://www.inquirer.com, "Two friends shared heroin in a KFC bathroom. One died, one went to prison. Their families are picking up the pieces.," 6 June 2019 Seminarians or young priests appealed to leaders in the diocese, to no avail, the report says. Anchorage Daily News, "W. Virgnia bishop spent millions on himself and sent cash to priests he was accused of mistreating, Vatican report says," 5 June 2019 Assange tried challenging the restrictions in Ecuadorian court, to no avail. Gonzalo Solano, The Seattle Times, "Exasperated Ecuador ends asylum for world’s worst houseguest," 13 Apr. 2019 That is how most of the isis fighters died: hugging the earth to no avail as their innards turned to mush and the night was ripped apart by the explosions. William Langewiesche, The Atlantic, "An Extraordinarily Expensive Way to Fight ISIS," 21 June 2018 Since then, the president has repeatedly called, to no apparent avail, on all parties to the Gulf dispute to settle their differences and focus on uniting to fight the Islamic State and other terrorist groups. Josh Dawsey, Washington Post, "Trump’s personal attorney solicited $1 million from government of Qatar," 16 May 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about avail

Statistics for avail

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for avail

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!