Definition of avail in English:



  • 1avail oneself offormal Use or take advantage of (an opportunity or available resource)

    ‘my daughter did not avail herself of my advice’
    • ‘The owner may wish to avail himself of this opportunity to acquaint himself with his surroundings.’
    • ‘You need to avail yourself of every resource that we have here.’
    • ‘Some of the women are fully veiled in black, but most seem to be availing themselves of the opportunity to show off their latest purchases.’
    • ‘More and more senior citizens are availing themselves of the opportunity to enjoy the amenities offered in what many regard as the most exciting and vibrant city in the world, Las Vegas.’
    • ‘The temperature was in the high thirties right up until nightfall and thus we took every opportunity to avail ourselves of shade and air-conditioning.’
    • ‘After the refreshments, the general public were admitted to the field with between 5,000 and 6,000 availing themselves of the opportunity of being present.’
    • ‘I avail myself of this opportunity to send you my warmest greetings.’
    • ‘Though the earliest Macedonian immigrants arrived in the United States with little or no formal education, they quickly availed themselves of new opportunities to improve their literacy skills.’
    • ‘Can we be assured that he will avail himself of the opportunity to put his classroom expertise into practice?’
    • ‘There is a nature trail in the community near my home, which I avail myself of at every opportunity.’
    • ‘He has already served substantial time in jail and hasn't availed himself of those opportunities.’
    • ‘The visitors were availing themselves of the opportunity to discover the multi-faceted profile of the nation's premier organisation.’
    • ‘Neither her Syrian ancestors in Brazil, nor my Dutch-German forebears in the United States could avail themselves of that sort of opportunity.’
    • ‘Until then, it is anticipated that more families will avail themselves of the opportunity to send their children to camp.’
    • ‘Like other closed systems of thought, Hegel's philosophy avails itself of the dubious advantage of not having to allow any criticism whatsoever.’
    • ‘But most Indians don't avail themselves of this opportunity to customize their food intake.’
    • ‘Depending on the seasons as many as 150 people would gather in the area to avail themselves of its resources.’
    • ‘If you're not equal in outcome, well that's you're fault - you didn't work hard enough, you didn't avail yourself of our educational opportunities.’
    • ‘A number of publishers availed themselves of the advertising opportunities and commissioned Smith to write books for them.’
    • ‘I would urge as many people as possible to avail themselves of the opportunity to sign the petition to ensure that a strongly supported message is sent to Canberra.’
    use, make use of, take advantage of, utilize, employ
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  • 2literary with object Help or benefit.

    ‘no amount of struggle availed Charles’
    • ‘But their wealth avails them not at all this time.’
    • ‘If such action be tainted over much by self-interest it probably will not avail the accused.’
    • ‘But it avails little if we reach agreement on this doctrine or that but are in fundamental disagreement about the sacramental nature of the Church in inseparable unity with Christ and the salvation he bestows.’
    • ‘This time around, Daffy seems to realize he's losing the game, but all of his extra caution avails him naught.’
    • ‘Of course, none of this careful planning avails me in the slightest if I don't manage to actually write anything.’
    help, aid, assist, benefit, be of use to, be useful to, profit, be of advantage to, be of service to
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usually in phrase of/to no avail
  • Use or benefit.

    ‘he begged her to reconsider, but to no avail’
    • ‘Last-ditch efforts to avert war in the second week of March were to no avail.’
    • ‘She was doing a sterling job of trying to wake him up but to no avail.’
    • ‘We waited for this building work to commence but it was all to no avail.’
    • ‘Trying to find an explanation, I consulted several modern textbooks to no avail.’
    • ‘He said he heard someone shout the man had got to the bank side, and used some bike lights to search for him, but to no avail.’
    • ‘I keep nagging him to get over it and get on with posting but to no avail.’
    • ‘Police vans were pelted with bottles and cans, and speakers tried to calm the crowd, but to no avail.’
    • ‘After a few frantic phone calls to no avail, the decision to ad-lib was made.’
    • ‘I have tried various remedies, including cutting the plant right back, but to no avail.’
    • ‘Police say an extensive search was carried out immediately but to no avail.’
    • ‘The pair went on holiday to Brazil recently, apparently to give their love lives a boost but to no avail.’
    • ‘We have got a petition, written letters, been to meetings, but to no avail as they just do not listen.’
    • ‘Mr Holmes said he and three friends immediately launched their own boat and searched the area but to no avail.’
    • ‘The Allerton residents filled in countless petitions against the closure, to no avail.’
    • ‘For the past two years, members have tried to scare the deer off, to no avail.’
    • ‘We have written asking for councillors to visit to inspect the damage and poor state of repairs, to no avail.’
    • ‘A search party had been sent out the previous evening, to no avail, so they'd gone out again at dawn.’
    • ‘Since then he has been passed back and forth between the NHS and Inland Revenue but to no avail.’
    • ‘The group banged on the door to alert the sleeping occupants to no avail.’
    • ‘My protestations about the lack of evidence of benefit in such procedures were to no avail.’
    in vain, without success, unsuccessfully, vainly, with no result, fruitlessly, to no purpose
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  • avail someone nothing

    • archaic (of an action) be of no help at all to someone.

      ‘this protest availed her nothing’
      • ‘Such rights may have availed us nothing, had the client run into financial difficulties.’
      • ‘I would suggest that his flying start to war has availed him nothing but the intensified scorn of the nation.’
      • ‘‘It withered my heart,’ he wrote in his diary, but his presence could avail her nothing now.’
      • ‘I'm afraid that your skills, such as they are, will avail you nothing.’
      • ‘Climbing trees or diving into water will avail you nothing with a tiger.’


Middle English: from obsolete vail ‘be of use or value’ (apparently on the pattern of pairs such as amount, mount), from Old French valoir, from Latin valere ‘be strong, be of value’.