"Avail" = "advantage"?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Mar 4 17:35:48 UTC 2008

At 2/28/2008 10:45 AM, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>On Feb 27, 2008, at 8:35 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>> From Slashdot:
>>"... more UNIX references for those willing and able to _take avail
>>of_ the UNIX kernel underlying the operating system ..."
>believe it or not, this is an *old* sense -- perhaps the original
>sense -- of the noun "avail".  the OED lists "avail" 'beneficial
>effect; advantage, benefit, profit' as archaic or obsolete (except in
>expressions like "of little/no avail"),

But re-emerging.  The clue for 16 Across in
today's Boston Globe crossword puzzle is "effective use".


>with cites from the early 15th
>century, including one with "take":
>1871 Daily News 24 July, Taking avail of the cover.
>google  pulls up a 1777 "take avail of" in The Reports of Sir Edward
>Coke.  it also pulls up a respectable number of recent examples, many
>of them in computer contexts --
>   Having multiple swap partitions can be useful if you want to take
>avail of suspend functionality. I believe that there is a 2GB per swap
>partition limit so ...
>   But what is the minimum time you can choose to pay for, should you
>wish to take avail of the Wi-Fi link? Well, you have to pay for an
>hour, obviously.
>and a number from ethnic varieties (where they might be survivals from
>earlier english) or non-native speakers --
>   Additionally, we plan to create a central system where members can
>take avail of different resources such as articles, forums, deals,
>etc. ...
>   Firstly, you must only take avail of the total premium paid to the
>insurance company up to the time of the accident. The rest of the
>compensation offered by ...
>qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view. asp?HD=1&ID=2999&CATE=44
>   ... which boasts a temperature of 29° C. Anyone keen to experience
>it may take avail of goggles, snorkels and flippers, which are provided.
>The administration deadly wished to take avail of the win to bail out
>of the current embarrassment. Before the match, China stood the top in
>the group with ...
>but some seem to be neither:
>   You can take avail of their promotional products package and pay a
>particular amount for them to imprint your logo on these mugs.
>   Nashua High South [Nashua NH] is a great place for anyone who wants
>to take avail of the oppurtunities...
>   Otherwise feel free to take avail of the transportation I'm leaving
>at Jason's for the duration of my trip.  [29-year-old Australian man]
>there are also some combos of "take avail" and "avail oneself":
>A bonus-ship fly across the screen from time to time. Take avail
>yourself of the bonuses that it will give you if you manage to hit
>it. ...
>www.gamezoneproject.com/a_product. php?product_name=Space
>in any case, "take avail of" doesn't look obsolete.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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