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

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.



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

This raises the total rebate that can be availed on the interest on EV loans to Rs2.5 lakh, including an earlier Rs1 lakh allowance. Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, "Incentives announced in India’s union budget may not do much for electric vehicles," 5 July 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Atlantic Target and Maritime Operations team searched the HSMST for five hours to no avail and later notified the Coast Guard of the potential navigation hazard, Boulay said. Fox News, "US Navy boat missing since last year found floating off Ireland coast," 8 Sep. 2019 Cincinnati nearly doubled Seattle in total yards to no avail. Tyler Dragon, Cincinnati.com, "Analysis: What we learned in Cincinnati Bengals' loss to Seattle Seahawks in NFL Week 1," 8 Sep. 2019 Kirkland tried to persuade his family members to switch to Android, to no avail. Washington Post, "Why Apple’s newest iPhones might not generate the buzz of years past," 6 Sep. 2019 But Michael, like Feldman, is deaf and his attempts to express his situation through sign language go increasingly to no avail. Whitney Friedlander, CNN, "How Hollywood is working to improve representation of disabled people," 6 Sep. 2019 Officials searched for the man on Thursday until 8:40 p.m. but to no avail, Procopio said. Jordan Frias, BostonGlobe.com, "Walden Pond closed as State Police search for missing Cambridge man," 6 Sep. 2019 The Israelis, European governments and even the Pope asked the Syrians to spare Cohen’s life, but to no avail. Alejandro De La Garza, Time, "The True Story Behind the Netflix Series The Spy," 5 Sep. 2019 To no avail—England’s vastly greater size ensured that a narrow majority for Leave in the south dictated Britain’s exit from the European Union. The Economist, "Without Scotland, the Tories may struggle to win a majority," 5 Sep. 2019 Rick Scott to try to get the problem fixed, to no avail. Megan O'matz, sun-sentinel.com, "Inside the Hollywood Hills nursing home: Soaring temperatures, dying patients and a nurse asleep. Where were the people in charge?," 26 Aug. 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

17 Sep 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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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