"Avail" = "advantage"?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Mar 4 18:44:51 UTC 2008

At 3/4/2008 12:58 PM, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>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:
>>>>"... 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.

Could be.  But my reaction, considering the "rules" for writing
clues, was that if "of [great] avail" was intended, the clue should
have read "(of) effective use".


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