avail

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English vailen (to be of use), from Old French valoir (to be worth), from Latin valeō (I am worth).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

avail (third-person singular simple present avails, present participle availing, simple past and past participle availed)

  1. (transitive, often reflexive) To turn to the advantage of.
    I availed myself of the opportunity.
  2. (transitive) To be of service to.
    Artifices will not avail the sinner in the day of judgment.
  3. (transitive) To promote; to assist.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Alexander Pope to this entry?)
  4. (intransitive) To be of use or advantage; to answer or serve the purpose; to have strength, force, or efficacy sufficient to accomplish the object.
    The plea in court must avail.
    This scheme will not avail.
    Medicines will not avail to halt the disease.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      Words avail very little with me, young man.
  5. (India, Africa, elsewhere proscribed) To provide; to make available.
    • 2004 November 16, Nik Ogbulie, “Decongesting the Banking Floors”:
      With this initiative, Valucard becomes an open system that is not limited to point of sale (POS) transactions, but now avails cash to its holders in various locations nationwide.

Antonyms[edit]

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Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

avail (plural avails)

  1. (obsolete) Benefit; value, profit; advantage toward success. [15th-19thc.]
    • 1485, Syr Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Bk.II, Ch.ij:
      I shal take the aduenture sayd Balen that god wille ordeyne me / but the swerd ye shalle not haue at this tyme by the feythe of my body / ye shalle repente hit within short tyme sayd the damoysel/ For I wold haue the swerd more for your auaylle than for myne / for I am passyng heuy for your sake
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, III.1:
      hardy Citizens [] sticke not to sacrifice their honours and consciences, as those of old, their lives, for their Countries availe and safety.
    • 1895, Andrew Lang, A Monk of Fife:
      So this friar, unworthy as he was of his holy calling, had me at an avail on every side, nor do I yet see what I could do but obey him, as I did.
  2. Effect in achieving a goal or aim; purpose, use (now usually in negative constructions). [from 15thc.]
    I tried fixing it, to no avail.
    Labor, without economy, is of little avail.
  3. (now only US) Proceeds; profits from business transactions. [from 15thc.]
  4. (obsolete, poetic) Effort; striving.
    • 1613, Thomas Campion, “Songs of Mourning”, in Poetical Works (in English) of Thomas Campion, published 1907, page 125:
      And ev'n now, though he breathless lies, his sails / Are struggling with the winds, for our avails / T'explore a passage hid from human tract, / Will fame him in the enterprise or fact.
  5. (television, advertising) An advertising slot or package.
  6. (US, politics, journalism) A press avail.
    While holding an avail yesterday, the candidate lashed out at critics.
  7. (UK, acting) Non-binding notice of availability for work.
  8. (oil industry) A readily available stock of oil.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (success or benefit): Very often encountered in negative phrases, such as of or to no or little avail.

Translations[edit]