verb (used with object)

to be of use or value to; profit; advantage: All our efforts availed us little in trying to effect a change.

verb (used without object)

to be of use; have force or efficacy; serve; help: His strength did not avail against the hostile onslaught.
to be of value or profit.


advantage; use; efficacy; effective use in the achievement of a goal or objective: His belated help will be of little or no avail.
avails, Archaic. profits or proceeds.


    avail oneself of, to use to one's advantage: They availed themselves of the opportunity to hear a free concert.

Origin of avail

1250–1300; Middle English availe, equivalent to a- a-2 + vaile < Old French vail- (stem of valoir) < Latin valēre to be of worth
Related formsa·vail·ing·ly, adverbun·a·vailed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for avail

Contemporary Examples of avail

Historical Examples of avail

  • His instinct of sympathy with which he had greeted her at the outset was repelled, and made of no avail.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Now, he was her humble petitioner, but this servility could be of no avail to save him from shame.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Yates was something of a wrestler himself, but his skill was of no avail on this occasion.

  • She saw all this mentally; but would it avail anything in actuality?


    W. A. Fraser

  • What avail great talents, if they be not devoted to goodness?

British Dictionary definitions for avail



to be of use, advantage, profit, or assistance (to)
avail oneself of to make use of to one's advantage


use or advantage (esp in the phrases of no avail, to little avail)
Derived Formsavailingly, adverb

Word Origin for avail

C13 availen, from vailen, from Old French valoir, from Latin valēre to be strong, prevail
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for avail

c.1300, availen, apparently a French compound formed in English from Old French a- "to" (see ad-) + vailen "to avail," from vaill-, present stem of valoir "be worth," from Latin valere (see valiant). Related: Availed; availing. As a noun, from c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with avail


In addition to the idiom beginning with avail

  • avail oneself of

also see:

  • to no avail
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.