ac·cess | \ˈak-ˌses also ik-ˈses \

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

accession, admission, admittance, door, doorway, entrance, entrée (or entree), entry, gateway, ingress, key, passport, ticket

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

Most top footballers rise through professional club academies with access to great facilities and coaching. Kanishk Tharoor, The Atlantic, "The Elusive Underdog Magic of the World Cup," 14 July 2018 Through the partnership, complimentary access and use of Business Prime shipping is available through Dec. 31 and users receive free two-day shipping on eligible Prime items, no matter the order size. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Governmental bodies jumping on Amazon bandwagon," 12 July 2018 But with plentiful access to flavor and seafood, the provincial style developed as one of the most prominent of the eight major Chinese cuisines. Casey Quackenbush / Hong Kong, Time, "'We're Not Educated.' The Untold Story of Lung King Heen, the World's First Michelin Three-Star Chinese Restaurant," 12 July 2018 However, unlike those two popular landmarks, visitor access is an issue. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Aerial tram to iconic Hollywood Sign? Warner Bros. proposes major project," 10 July 2018 Republicans are more likely to say ineligible voters casting ballots is a problem, while Democrats are more focused on issues with voting access. Hannah Fingerhut, The Christian Science Monitor, "Poll: Americans have relatively high confidence in Supreme Court," 10 July 2018 The historic area with its recreation access and boat ramp was less than three hours away, the blink of an eye in the midst of a months-long road trip. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Lees Ferry: Gateway to Grand Canyon rafting and the Colorado River," 9 July 2018 If weather forecasts are correct, access to the cave could soon close again due to flooding. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Thai soccer rescue efforts might need to happen sooner than expected, experts warn," 7 July 2018 Today, according to the UN’s International Telecommunication Union, citing official figures, internet access is around 25 percent and mobile penetration around 90 percent. Timothy Mclaughlin, WIRED, "How Facebook’s Rise Fueled Chaos and Confusion in Myanmar," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The criteria for evaluating employee recordings is unclear, as are several major details about the proposal, such as how long the recordings would be kept on file and whether outside parties could access them. Jason Silverstein, CBS News, "Walmart patents audio surveillance technology to record customers and employees," 13 July 2018 Last year, Long Beach, Calif., disabled comments on its postings because city officials, who were not part of specific neighborhood forums, could not access them. New York Times, "Nextdoor Is Betting a Social Network Can Still Be a Platform for Politics," 13 July 2018 More than any trainer of his time, Baffert has been able to access additional gears and to lead his horses to a higher level. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "What makes Bob Baffert special? Keen eyes behind those sunglasses," 4 June 2018 After the Chelsea Flower Show, the Feel Good Garden will be sent to the Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, where roughly 30 adults will be able to access the garden on a daily basis. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Looks Delighted at the Chelsea Flower Show In Her First Appearance After the Royal Wedding," 21 May 2018 At first, a court partially ruled in Hage’s favor, but then a higher court overturned that decision — saying that owning a water right doesn’t give someone the right to trespass on public land to access it. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Bundyville Chapter Three: A Clan Not to Cross," 17 May 2018 Scientists have only recently been able to access the Iceman’s stomach; for many years after the discovery of his body, researchers couldn’t find it. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Before He Died, Ötzi the Iceman Ate a Greasy, Fatty Meal," 13 July 2018 By going through InBenta, the hacking group known as Magecart was able to access payment information. Jacob Taylor /, NBC News, "Ticketmaster data theft part of larger credit card scheme, security firm says," 10 July 2018 But starting Wednesday, the public will be able to access the facility regularly this summer. David Gleisner, Daily Southtown, "Homewood Science Center to open Wednesdays, Saturdays," 10 July 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

28 Sep 2018

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 \

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 \

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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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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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