\ 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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Examples of avail in a Sentence

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But your company has availed itself of protections under law that shield it from liability for defamation, copyright infringement, etc. Dennis Prager, National Review, "An Open Letter to Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin," 15 Oct. 2019 Amazon revealed that three out of four customers who availed themselves of financing came from Tier 2 and 3 cities; significantly, every second buyer who used credit did so for the first time. Washington Post, "Amazon, Walmart Will Help Save India’s Banks," 10 Oct. 2019 Tickets avail now! Hope to meet many of you there on Nov 7th! Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al, "Donald Trump Jr. to kick off book tour in Birmingham next month," 5 Oct. 2019 Similarly, marijuana businesses cannot avail themselves of federal bankruptcy, meaning creditors could be left holding the bag if a pot company dissolves. Dan Adams, BostonGlobe.com, "Mass. banks, credit unions expand services for marijuana companies," 26 July 2019 Under India’s central bank norms, a borrower is tagged a wilful defaulter if on failure to meet repayment obligations despite having the capacity to repay, or if the loan is not used for the purpose it was availed for in the first place. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "A flamboyant Indian industrialist is now chased by a bank his ancestor founded," 17 June 2019 The two female entrepreneurs, both alums of management consulting firm McKinsey, have built an online community of more than 75 million people who can connect to employers and avail themselves of a range of tools to advance their careers. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "The Muse founders make finding a job less harrowing," 11 Sep. 2019 Joe Boncek and Detective Tracey Hill dramatized just how lucky residents are to be able to avail themselves of the vigilance and dedication of a full cadre of about 10 officers trained for duty on the Argus. Linda Gandee/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "Rocky River Marine Patrol prepares for winter -- and more kayaks," 10 Sep. 2019 Making New York City a green utopia will not avail if Texans keep pumping oil and driving pickup trucks. Jonathan Franzen, The New Yorker, "What If We Stopped Pretending?," 8 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Police and sheriff's deputies soon arrived at the school and tried to de-escalate the situation to no avail. Washington Post, "Winter storm dumps over a foot of snow around the Northeast," 3 Dec. 2019 Waukesha police and sheriff's deputies soon arrived at the school and tried to de-escalate the situation to no avail. Arkansas Online, "Student in custody after shooting at Milwaukee-area school," 2 Dec. 2019 The university has searched for living relatives of both Hanly and Lennon but to no avail. Eric Todisco, PEOPLE.com, "112-Year-Old Message in a Beer Bottle Found Inside Wall at New Jersey University," 2 Dec. 2019 One of the other three people on board, a student aviator, had taken over the controls, but to no avail. The Economist, "Aviation An emergency landing system that passengers can activate," 28 Nov. 2019 Smith then deployed a taser and police baton, to no avail. Fox News, "Alabama jury convicts police officer of manslaughter for killing unarmed black man," 23 Nov. 2019 The president made multiple trips to Louisiana and hosted rallies with Rispone, but to no avail. al, "What Democratic wins in Louisiana and Kentucky could mean for Doug Jones in Alabama," 22 Nov. 2019 Subsequent attempts to legalize the trade have been to no avail. Nichole Sobecki, National Geographic, "Exclusive: Inside a controversial South African lion farm," 21 Nov. 2019 The admiral had spent his two years in charge of the 7th Fleet begging, to no avail, for more men and a more reasonable pace of missions. Megan Rose, ProPublica, "Blame Over Justice: The Human Toll of the Navy’s Relentless Push to Punish One of Its Own," 20 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for avail

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for avail

Last Updated

21 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Avail.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/availed. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for avail


How to pronounce avail (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for avail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


very cautious or careful

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