"Avail" = "advantage"?

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue Mar 4 17:58:17 UTC 2008

On Mar 4, 2008, at 9:35 AM, Joel Berson wrote:

> At 2/28/2008 10:45 AM, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>> On Feb 27, 2008, at 8:35 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>> From Slashdot:
>>> http://books.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/27/1551206
>>> "... 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".

i think the examples i cited in my earlier posting suggest that it is
re-emerging -- or never went away.

but the crossword clue isn't evidence of this, because the use of
"avail" alluded to might be the one in "of little/no avail" and the
like, which never went out of fashion.


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