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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Avail, Avale, v. Also: availl, avayl(e, avaell; awail(l, awail(e, awayle, awaylle; awale. [ME. avail, awail (c 1300), availle, avaylle, etc., f. Va(i)lȝe v.]

1. intr. To be of use, profit, or advantage; to help or assist.(a) 1375 Barb. i. 336 (that may mony time awaill). c1420 Wynt. v. 4872 (in nakyn thyng mycht he awaylle). a1500 Henr. Fab. 1395 (sumthing heirefter may auaill). c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxiii. 10 (warldis wrak but weilfair nocht awailis). 1513 Doug. v. xii. 36 (thar was na large fludis on ȝet, that mycht avail). c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 86 (his faith doith nocht auaill). a1578 Pitsc. II. 57/2 (all this availlit nocht). 1620 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II. 298 (nocht abill to awaill on hir effairis).(b) a1400 Leg. S. xxxii. 237 (for my crafte mycht nocht awale). 1513 Doug. viii. Prol. 104 (nowther band nor selis avalis). 1533 Gau 84/12 (al oder prayer awalis noth). 1531 Bell. Boece I. p. viii (all welth in erd avalis nocht). 1558 Q. Kennedy Tractive 164 (Christ avalis ȝow nocht). 1587 Misc. Bann. C. I. 113 (my intercession avalit sa with thame).

b. With qualifying word as litill, mekill, na thing (cf. nocht above), ocht, quhat, etc.(a) c1400 Troy-bk. i. 156 (counselle that may litill awaile). c1420 Wynt. v. 2417 (that mekyll may to thi saule awayle); Ib. 3166 (it suld welle mayr awayle). 1456 Hay I. 82/5 (quhat availis all thir vthir vertues?). a1500 Henr. Fab. 1382 (quhen haly preiching may na thing auaill). c1500-c1512 Dunb. xiv. 72 (with hattis that littill availlis). c1552 Lynd. Mon. 495 (thy faith no thyng auailis). 1560 Rolland Seven S. 162/1 (this availlis not ane prene).(b) a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 744 (I sal hald that vay that best to me awale may). a1500 Doug. K. Hart 614 (quhat may avale, God wait). 1531 Bell. Boece II. 298 (his disuasionis litill avalit). a1585 Maitl. Q. lxv. 100 (gif that avaleth ocht). 1596 Dalr. II. 292/22 ( … culd avale onie thing).

2. tr. To benefit or advantage; to profit.?1438 Alex. i. 1046 (nother scheld nor blassone availlit him of ane buttoune). a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1114 (tressour of tressouris quhilk may me mast avale). a1500 Doug. K. Hart 634 (gif that I culd with counsale ȝow avale). a1568 Scott i. 212 (the wordis may haell avaell thy Grace). a1578 Pitsc. I. 412/22 (his hie prudence awailled him nocht ane myt). 1657 Balfour Ann. I. 121 (wich peace did muche awaill the Frenche Kings affaires).

3. To value, set a value upon. 1469 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 419.
Landis, annuall rentis, gudis, possessionis … to be tayne, pundit, dystrenȝeit, avaylede, ande sald
1492 Acta Aud. 166/2.
Landis … to be arrestit, pundit, prisit, awayled, and sald

4. To be of the value of, or equivalent to. a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI 16.
He sould have for his reward a pecuniall sowme availling ane thowsand pundis money of this realme

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"Avail v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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