\ 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 As the coronavirus pandemic forces a shutdown of the economy, many good companies facing massive revenue declines will need to avail themselves of bankruptcy. Jonathan S. Henes, WSJ, "Viewpoint: Congress Should Codify the One-Day Bankruptcy," 11 May 2020 These are highly recommended for those who have availed loans in the past and repaid without any defaults. Adheer Dhar, Quartz India, "How to manage your personal finances during India’s coronavirus crisis," 23 Apr. 2020 Many populations that may not have had PayPal or Venmo [in the past] now need to avail themselves of that. Jen Wieczner, Fortune, "Q&A: PayPal CEO Dan Schulman says coronavirus is giving his business ‘ a tremendous surge’," 20 Apr. 2020 Before the pandemic, anyone who wanted to avail of the range of the bounty of produce, cheap spices, and cheeses had to work a 165-minute shift each month. Anne Quito, Quartz, "Brooklyn’s legendary food co-op shows how community organizations can thrive in a pandemic," 15 Apr. 2020 Trump does have a record of availing himself of federal help meant for small businesses. Meg Cramer, ProPublica, "Yes, Trump Hotels Do Appear to Qualify for Coronavirus Bailout Benefits.," 8 Apr. 2020 Because of this disconnect, service delivery providers face entry barriers to avail government schemes. Pamli Deka, Quartz India, "What is preventing the adoption of renewable energy in rural India, and how to fix it?," 13 Feb. 2020 Equally availing Tomarken were her arguments directed at the agreement's substantive unconscionability. Eriq Gardner, Billboard, "Judge Rules Grammy Awards Outfit Made Ex-Employee Sign Unconscionable Deal," 13 Aug. 2019 Taxpayers can choose to forego all exemptions and avail the new lower tax slabs. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "Budget 2020: Income tax rates slashed—but only if exemptions are dropped," 1 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In the years that followed, Cloutier and his collaborators returned to this part of the Escuminac Formation again and again to search for more remains of Elpistostege—to no avail. John A. Long, Scientific American, "How a 380-Million-Year-Old Fish Gave Us Fingers," 20 May 2020 When social distancing came into force, the proprietor tried out the concept in his space, to little avail. Dara Doyle, Bloomberg.com, "For a Dublin Bar, The Glass Is Half Full Even in Lockdown," 28 Apr. 2020 Industry strongly backs the global deal, known as the Kigali Amendment, and for the first two years of the Trump administration lobbied the White House to support it, to little avail. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Kennedy threatens to bring down major bipartisan energy bill over amendment blocked by GOP leadership," 4 Mar. 2020 Talk of adding industrial parks and reinvigorating the area has gone on for decades, to little avail. Chris Kenning, The Courier-Journal, "37 years after Mother Teresa came to Appalachia, her nuns return to help the poor," 24 Dec. 2019 Talk of adding industrial parks and reinvigorating the area has gone on for decades, to little avail. Chris Kenning, Washington Post, "Mother Teresa’s nuns return to her rural Kentucky mission," 24 Dec. 2019 The center's study comes at a time when America continues to lose black CEOs and companies are spending millions of dollars trying to diversify their staff, often to little avail. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, "Why so many black business professionals are missing from the C-suite," 10 Dec. 2019 For weeks, law enforcement scoured Teller County and conducted a multitude of interviews to find Berreth to little avail. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "Kelsey Berreth murder case: Jury has reached verdict in Patrick Frazee’s trial in Colorado," 18 Nov. 2019 The government of Delhi closed all the city’s schools and instituted sweeping measures to limit traffic, to little avail. The Economist, "Politics this week," 7 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

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Avail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/avail. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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

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