\ 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

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 Her roommate, Barrett, was in the den with his girlfriend, Katrina, who took epic showers in Geraldine’s bathroom most mornings and availed herself of other people’s bath products. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "How Could She," 25 June 2019 And yet, of the prospects who availed themselves to the measurements and testing at last month's NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, only three came in with shorter wingspans that the 6 feet 3 1/4 inches of the former Wildcats freshman. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "Tyler Herro measures up to Heat as perfect fit, regardless of wingspan," 24 June 2019 The firm, which markets X-Cite, Mango Sip, Siznal, and Aprilla fruit juices, among others, allegedly carried out fictitious transactions with dummy entities to avail input tax credit. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "A spate of recent frauds has taken the sheen off India’s new tax regime," 3 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Organizers tried calling the group back, off the property and back into the public right of way, to no avail. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "Protest of planned federal immigration roundups draws thousands to Aurora ICE facility," 12 July 2019 Yankton’s Board of Trustees—a body that exists to this day—even appointed a local businessman as the college’s new, postmortem president, tasking him (ultimately to no avail) with figuring out a way to revitalize the campus. Alia Wong, The Atlantic, "The College That Became a Prison," 12 July 2019 The Florida Legislature has tried to eliminate the CON program for decades, but to no avail. Christine Sexton, sun-sentinel.com, "New transplant services popping up now that Florida hospital regulation struck down," 12 July 2019 The play was familiar, something that Nani had tried to no avail throughout the game. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City defeats NYCFC in penalty kicks, advances to U.S. Open Cup semifinals," 10 July 2019 Then, the onlookers begin to knock on the windows of the home to try and dissuade the bears, to no avail. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "You've Got to Watch This Hilarious Video of a Bear and Its Cub Trespassing a Family's Car in Gatlinburg," 10 July 2019 Multiple agencies spent all day Sunday searching for Hill to no avail. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al.com, "Body of Wilsonville husband, father recovered after Lay Lake drowning Sunday," 8 July 2019 Most people with hormonal acne have tried over-the-counter treatments to no avail. Jenn Sinrich, SELF, "5 Signs You're Dealing with Hormonal Acne—and How to Treat It," 2 July 2019 The license plate on the vehicle used on that trip had been issued to Mr. Dulos, who is a resident of Farmington, Conn. Connecticut State Police and cadaver dogs spent three weeks searching a Hartford trash plant for clues, to no avail. Neil Vigdor, New York Times, "‘Revenge Suicide Hypothesis’ Offered by Lawyer for Estranged Husband of Missing Woman," 2 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

18 Jul 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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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