ac·​cess | \ ˈak-ˌses also ik-ˈses How to pronounce access (audio) \

Definition of access

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : permission, liberty, or ability to enter, approach, or pass to and from a place or to approach or communicate with a person or thing Investigators wanted to get access to his home. consultants who have easy access to the president
b : freedom or ability to obtain or make use of something paying for access to the Internet
c : a way or means of entering or approaching A canal provides access to the river. a building that provides wheelchair access [=a way for people in wheelchairs to enter]
d : the act or an instance of accessing something
2a : onset sense 2 an access of illness
b : a fit of intense feeling : outburst If it had been in Tito's nature to feel an access of rage, he would have felt it against this bull-faced accomplice.— George Eliot
3 : an increase by addition a sudden access of wealth


accessed; accessing; accesses

Definition of access (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to get at : to gain access to: such as
a : to be able to use, enter, or get near (something) accessed the computer by phone a system that makes it easier to access the money in your bank account
b : to open or load (a computer file, an Internet site, etc.) a file that can be accessed by many users at the same time

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Synonyms & Antonyms for access

Synonyms: Noun

attack, bout, case, fit, seizure, siege, spell, turn

Synonyms: Verb

enter, penetrate, pierce

Antonyms: Verb

depart, exit, leave

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Examples of access in a Sentence


We have Internet access at the library. a sudden access of hay fever was making him feel miserable


The new system makes it easier to access the money in your bank account. Your favorite radio stations can be accessed at the touch of a button. The file loads every time you access the Web site. The file can be accessed by many users at the same time. She could work at home by remotely accessing the company's network. You'll need a password to access the database.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This includes access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "What These 4 Young People Want You to Know About HIV," 10 Apr. 2019 There's also access to chat with a fertility nurse and/or join Modern Fertility's online community. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "What I Wear to Work: Carly Leahy, Co-Founder of Modern Fertility," 8 Apr. 2019 It's called the Rain Straw, and features a revolutionary slide-apart straw that gives you unparalleled access to the inside of your drinking tube, meaning no mold and no gross residue left behind. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "This Reusable Straw Has a Genius Cleaning Hack That’ll Blow Your Mind," 4 Apr. 2019 Klobuchar announced a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that would help expand access to rural broadband and strengthen roads and bridges. Alexandra Jaffe, The Seattle Times, "Warren, Klobuchar agree on breaking up Big Ag," 1 Apr. 2019 Those who are diagnosed earlier have more access to critical, potentially life-changing care. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "10 Things Parents of Kids With Autism Spectrum Disorder Wish You Knew," 1 Apr. 2019 Of course, like so many of his fellow A-listers, Rudd's skin-care and self-care routines are probably a mix of insanely expensive products and near-constant dermatologic supervision and access. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Paul Rudd Finally Shares His Skin-Care Secrets," 25 Mar. 2019 The State Department is demanding that a dozen U.S. citizens and permanent residents being held in detention in Venezuela be granted access to proper nutrition and medical care, and be afforded fair judicial treatment. Courtney Mcbride, WSJ, "Concern Grows for U.S. Citizens Detained in Venezuela," 22 Mar. 2019 Ferrer traveled all over Europe, connecting with high-end furniture dealers, shops, and galleries, to curate the assortment of rare vintage items that are typically challenging for everyday shoppers to access. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "CB2 Launches Vintage Collection with ELLE Decor A-Lister Charlie Ferrer," 14 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Now the Trump administration is trying to limit how demonstrators could access and use certain spaces, including closing most of the sidewalk in front of the White House. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "The Trump administration is trying to restrict access to D.C. public spaces popular with protesters," 12 Oct. 2018 The right to choose and access to healthcare are on the line., "Black Women Come Out In Droves To Protest Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh," 12 July 2018 Officials said parents of children at the Wesley Chapel Child Development Center could access the facility from the Sun Valley side of Wesley Chapel Rd. Wbtv, charlotteobserver, "Three firefighters injured when fire truck overturns in Union County," 6 July 2018 Residents also can access their post office boxes at the New Lenox office, 300 N. Vine St. until further notice, Howard said. Susan Demar Lafferty, Daily Southtown, "Manhattan postal services moved to New Lenox after tornado," 29 June 2018 Offenders can eventually seal their records to keep employers from accessing them. Katie Johnston,, "AG warns 21 employers they violated ban on asking about criminal convictions; 3 are fined," 5 June 2018 Climb a spiral staircase to access 10 cozy rooms, all with tatami natural-fiber mats and beds hugged by fusuma sliding doors adorned with monochromatic Japanese landscapes. Michaela Trimble, Vogue, "An Insider’s Guide to the Little Tokyo of Mexico City," 23 Jan. 2019 Israel's most stunning desert region—gives travelers a more direct way to access Eilat, aside from the usual desert drive through the Negev. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 19 Best Places to Travel in 2019," 10 Jan. 2019 This issue has been particularly pronounced in California, where fights to access police records have been waged for decades, dating back to a massive purge of police documents in the 1970s. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "A California city plans to shred years of police records before a new law makes them public," 27 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'access.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of access


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


1953, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for access


Middle English, "entrance, approach, attack of illness, fever, lovesickness," borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French acces "attack of illness," (Old French also "liberty to approach"), borrowed from Latin accessus "approach, means of entry, right of approach, onset (of fever or illness)," action noun derived from accēdere "to approach" — more at accede


derivative of access entry 1

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Statistics for access

Last Updated

13 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for access

The first known use of access was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for access


ac·​cess | \ ˈak-ˌses How to pronounce access (audio) \

Kids Definition of access

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the right or ability to approach, enter, or use Only a few have access to the secret information.
2 : a way or means of approaching access to the sea


accessed; accessing

Kids Definition of access (Entry 2 of 2)

: to get at : get access to “He's in the computer. We just can't access his records.”— Louis Sachar, Holes


noun, often attributive
ac·​cess | \ ˈak-ˌses How to pronounce access (audio) \

Legal Definition of access

1 : permission, liberty, or ability to enter, approach, communicate with, or pass to and from a place, thing, or person public access to federal land access to the courts
2 : opportunity for sexual intercourse
3 : a landowner's legal right to pass from his or her land to a highway and to return without being obstructed
4 : freedom or ability to obtain, make use of, or participate in something the right to equal treatment holds with respect to a limited set of interests — like voting — and demands that every person have the same access to these interests— L. H. Tribe
5a : a way by which a thing or place may be approached or reached
b : passage to and from a place provide a means of access to the land
6 : opportunity to view or copy a copyrighted work

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More from Merriam-Webster on access

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with access

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for access

Spanish Central: Translation of access

Nglish: Translation of access for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of access for Arabic Speakers

Comments on access

What made you want to look up access? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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