Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To be of use or advantage to; help: Nothing could avail the dying patient.
  • intransitive v. To be of use, value, or advantage; serve: Halfway measures will no longer avail.
  • n. Use, benefit, or advantage: labored to no avail.
  • idiom avail (oneself) of To make use of.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To turn to the advantage of
  • v. To be of service to.
  • v. To promote; to assist.
  • v. To be of use or advantage; to answer or serve the purpose; to have strength, force, or efficacy sufficient to accomplish the object.
  • v. To provide.
  • n. Effort; striving.
  • n. An advertising slot or package.
  • n. A press avail.
  • n. Non-binding notice of availability for work.
  • n. A readily available stock of oil.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Profit; advantage toward success; benefit; value.
  • n. Proceeds.
  • v. See avale, v.
  • intransitive v. To be of use or advantage; to answer the purpose; to have strength, force, or efficacy sufficient to accomplish the object
  • transitive v. To turn to the advantage of; to be of service to; to profit; to benefit; to help.
  • transitive v. To promote; to assist.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To have value or use; be of service or advantage; give profit: as, wealth avails little to a castaway.
  • To have force or efficacy; serve for a purpose; give aid toward an end: as, his cries availed to bring relief.
  • To take or draw advantage; make use or profit.
  • To be for the advantage of; assist or profit: as, what will skill avail us against numbers?
  • To promote; prosper; assist: said of things.
  • To advantage; profit; give the benefit to: used reflexively, with of: as, he availed himself of the opportunity.
  • See avale.
  • n. Advantage, profit, or benefit, in a general sense; also, value or estimation.
  • n. Efficacy for a purpose; advantage to an object or end: now used chiefly in negative phrases, or sentences of negative import: as, of little or no avail; I doubt whether it will be of much avail.
  • n. plural Profits or proceeds: as, the avails of a sale by auction.
  • n. Returns.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. take or use
  • v. be of use to, be useful to
  • n. a means of serving
  • v. use to one's advantage

Etymologies

Middle English availen : a-, intensive pref. (from Latin ad-; see ad-) + Old French valoir, vail-, to be worth (from Latin valēre, to be strong; see wal- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English vailen ("to be of use"), from Old French valoir ("to be worth"), from Latin valeo ("to be strong"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Avail, as in “totes avail” meaning “totally available.”

    October 4, 2011