• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to be of use or value to; profit; advantage: All our efforts availed us little in trying to effect a change.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to be of use; have force or efficacy; serve; help: His strength did not avail against the hostile onslaught.
  2. to be of value or profit.
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  1. advantage; use; efficacy; effective use in the achievement of a goal or objective: His belated help will be of little or no avail.
  2. avails, Archaic. profits or proceeds.
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  1. avail oneself of, to use to one's advantage: They availed themselves of the opportunity to hear a free concert.
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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. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for avails

Historical Examples

  • And what avails skill in music, if there is no chance to display it?


    Lydia Maria Child

  • For what avails it that you have the finest horse, if another ride him better?

  • What avails it that you have the finest saddle, if another become it better?

  • What avails the finest fowling-piece to the worst sportsman?

  • I stay my haste, I make delays, For what avails this eager pace?

British Dictionary definitions for avails


  1. to be of use, advantage, profit, or assistance (to)
  2. avail oneself of to make use of to one's advantage
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  1. use or advantage (esp in the phrases of no avail, to little avail)
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Derived Formsavailingly, adverb

Word Origin

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 avails



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with avails


In addition to the idiom beginning with avail

  • avail oneself of

also see:

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