to no avail

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to no avail

 and of no avail
Cliché with no effect; unsuccessful. All of my efforts were to no avail. Everything I did to help was of no avail. Nothing worked.
See also: avail

to no avail

without any benefit or result The boy pushed against the door to no avail - something heavy was holding it shut.
Usage notes: sometimes used in the phrase to little avail (having almost no benefit or result): Security forces tried to disperse the crowd, but to little avail.
See also: avail

to no avail

Also, of little or no avail. Of no use or advantage, ineffective, as in All his shouting was to no avail; no one could hear him, or The life jacket was of little or no avail. This idiom uses avail in the sense of "advantage" or "assistance," a usage dating from the mid-1400s. Also see to little purpose.
See also: avail
References in classic literature ?
But it was all for the sake of Little Toomai, who had seen what never man had seen before--the dance of the elephants at night and alone in the heart of the Garo hills!
nothing whatever, save the prints of little footsteps around a vacant space!
The projects with which she beguiled her illness, for little Esther's education, and little Esther's marriage, and even for her own old age as the grandmother of little Esther's little Esthers, was so prettily expressive of devotion to this pride of her life that I should be tempted to recall some of them but for the timely remembrance that I am getting on irregularly as it is.
Read that, my dear and don't think hard of little Jane.
The Witch gave Dorothy a friendly little nod, whirled around on her left heel three times, and straightway disappeared, much to the surprise of little Toto, who barked after her loudly enough when she had gone, because he had been afraid even to growl while she stood by.
Thus Violet dwelt, and each day the golden light grew stronger; and from among the crevices of the rocky walls came troops of little velvet-coated moles, praying that they might listen to the sweet music, and lie in the warm light.
And to the stern King his home seemed more desolate and sad; for he missed the warm light, the happy flowers, and, more than all, the gay voice and bright face of little Violet.
Well, the fireman in question, who had gone to make a round of inspection in the cellars and who, it seems, had ventured a little farther than usual, suddenly reappeared on the stage, pale, scared, trembling, with his eyes starting out of his head, and practically fainted in the arms of the proud mother of little Jammes.
As for the Pygmies, their capital city was laid in ruins by the concussion and vibration of the air; and, though there was uproar enough without their help, they all set up a shriek out of three millions of little throats, fancying, no doubt, that they swelled the Giant's bellow by at least ten times as much.
I had had brothers myself, and it was no revelation to me that little girls could be slavish idolaters of little boys.
She waited for some time without hearing anything more: at last came a rumbling of little cartwheels, and the sound of a good many voices all talking together: she made out the words:
thought Alice; but she had not long to doubt, for the next moment a shower of little pebbles came rattling in at the window, and some of them hit her in the face.
As soon as she was small enough to get through the door, she ran out of the house, and found quite a crowd of little animals and birds waiting outside.
A modest little cottage but a bright and a fresh, and on the snowy tablecloth the prettiest of little breakfasts.
It would be difficult to suppose that there ever was a box which was opened and shut so many times within four-and-twenty hours, as that which contained his wardrobe and necessaries; and certainly there never was one which to two small eyes presented such a mine of clothing, as this mighty chest with its three shirts and proportionate allowance of stockings and pocket-handkerchiefs, disclosed to the astonished vision of little Jacob.