April 12, 2012
avail (noun)
\uh-VAIL\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to be of use or help
How do you use it?
"'We are surely lost!' cried Jinjur, in despair; 'for how can our knitting-needles avail against the long spears and terrible swords of our foes?'" (L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz)
Are you a word wiz?

Which word do you think probably has the same origin as "avail"?

"Avail" and "valor" likely both stem from the Latin word "valere," meaning "to be strong." We know that "valor" traces ultimately to "valere" and that it entered Middle English as "valour" meaning "worth, worthiness, bravery." We can trace "avail" to the Anglo-French word "availler," which we think comes from the Latin word "valoir" meaning "to be of worth" and which stems from "valere." Other members of the "valere" family include "value," "equivalent," and "prevail."
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