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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I avail myself of this opportunity to send you my warmest greetings.’
    • ‘You need to avail yourself of every resource that we have here.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Until then, it is anticipated that more families will avail themselves of the opportunity to send their children to camp.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He has already served substantial time in jail and hasn't availed himself of those opportunities.’
    • ‘Depending on the seasons as many as 150 people would gather in the area to avail themselves of its resources.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The visitors were availing themselves of the opportunity to discover the multi-faceted profile of the nation's premier organisation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Neither her Syrian ancestors in Brazil, nor my Dutch-German forebears in the United States could avail themselves of that sort of opportunity.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The owner may wish to avail himself of this opportunity to acquaint himself with his surroundings.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But most Indians don't avail themselves of this opportunity to customize their food intake.’
    • ‘Like other closed systems of thought, Hegel's philosophy avails itself of the dubious advantage of not having to allow any criticism whatsoever.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A number of publishers availed themselves of the advertising opportunities and commissioned Smith to write books for them.’
    use, make use of, take advantage of, utilize, employ
    View synonyms
  • 2literary Help or benefit.

    with object ‘no amount of struggle availed Charles’
    no object ‘the dark and narrow hiding place did not avail to save the fugitives’
    • ‘This time around, Daffy seems to realize he's losing the game, but all of his extra caution avails him naught.’
    • ‘If such action be tainted over much by self-interest it probably will not avail the accused.’
    • ‘Of course, none of this careful planning avails me in the slightest if I don't manage to actually write anything.’
    • ‘But their wealth avails them not at all this time.’
    • ‘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.’
    help, aid, assist, benefit, be of use to, be useful to, profit, be of advantage to, be of service to
    View synonyms


  • avail someone nothing

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

      ‘this protest availed her nothing’
      • ‘I'm afraid that your skills, such as they are, will avail you nothing.’
      • ‘Such rights may have availed us nothing, had the client run into financial difficulties.’
      • ‘Climbing trees or diving into water will avail you nothing with a tiger.’
      • ‘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.’
  • of little (or no) avail

    • Not very (or not at all) effective or successful.

      ‘Latin was of little avail in the practical affairs of life’
      • ‘I was consulted by a young woman labouring under symptoms of diseased heart, and in whose case the application of the hand was of little avail on account of fatness.’
      • ‘It is evident that the many efforts to reduce teenage pregnancy in East Lancashire have been of little avail when the rate remains among the highest in the country.’
      • ‘It is imperative that Boris attempts to establish an express term of the contract as it would appear that the implied terms of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 will be of little avail.’
      • ‘Habits of thought and action formed this way are of little avail when we are confronted with tasks in which our social standing cannot influence the outcome of the act.’
  • to little (or no) avail

    • With little (or no) success or benefit.

      ‘he tried to get his work recognized, but to little avail’
      • ‘Prominent African-American business and professional leaders staged boycotts and sued railroads, insisting on equal access, but to little avail.’
      • ‘With tenderness the man tries to console the woman, to little avail.’
      • ‘Without such a policy the Council will spend inordinate effort trying to ameliorate here, adjust there, fudge somewhere else, to little avail.’
      • ‘I've spent 45 minutes trying to get my email to little avail.’
      • ‘The youngest person in Britain to be diagnosed with breast cancer, she has had a partial mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy to little avail.’
      • ‘The county never stopped pumping throughout Jeanne's stay, but to little avail.’
      • ‘Efforts to curb the WSI's powers continued to little avail.’
      • ‘I tried to massage life back into my own feet, but to little avail.’
      • ‘Several people tried to separate him, but to little avail.’
      • ‘Policymakers are boosting government spending while cutting taxes and interest rates, but to little avail, as households try to build up their savings and pay off debts.’
      • ‘She was aware of the problem, and tried several different therapies and prescribed mood stabilizers to alleviate the symptoms, but to little avail.’
      • ‘At the time, the International Monetary Fund and Western commercial banks rushed in to shore up investor confidence - apparently to little avail.’
      • ‘Plenty of distraught candidates have gone to court accusing the voting machines of miscounting their votes, but to little avail.’
      • ‘The other tried to slow its fall, to little avail.’
      • ‘Dozens of books and thousands of articles have been written on the subject and hundreds of CEOs have tried to work out a system - seemingly to little avail.’
      • ‘Fear of a serious accident in a narrowing road riddled with potholes has led a Grove Park resident to call for action but to little avail.’
      • ‘But when most of her patients balked at the request, she said she and her husband tried offering other alternatives, all to little avail.’
      • ‘I have been starving myself, dieting and disciplining myself, denying myself and duping myself, and all to little avail.’
      • ‘Black people called on state and federal authorities to protect them from violence, to little avail.’
      • ‘Their long wings pounded furiously against the strong gust, but to little avail as they lost more ground to the screaming wind than they gained.’


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’.