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

Each passenger will have access to an iPad Pro and noise-canceling headphones to take advantage of the planes' complimentary high-speed WiFi. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "This New Luxury Airline Is Offering Private Jet Travel at a Fraction of the Price," 9 July 2018 Unlike OpenAI’s Dota 2 bots, DeepMind’s agents also didn’t have access to raw numerical data about the game — feeds of numbers that represents information like the distance between opponents and health bars. James Vincent, The Verge, "DeepMind’s AI agents exceed ‘human-level’ gameplay in Quake III," 4 July 2018 The families were separated and detained under Mr. Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy for illegally crossing into the U.S. Mr. de Blasio was denied access to the facility and wasn’t provided a tour. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "New York City Mayor Fends Off Illegal Border Crossing Claims," 11 July 2018 The Trump administration has accused the Chinese of a variety of trade abuses, including intellectual property theft and denying American companies equal access to China’s market. New York Times, "A Soybean Surge Makes Trump’s Trade War Look Deceptively Good," 11 July 2018 As soon as Liu Xia returned home from visiting her husband in prison that month, she was confined in her fifth-floor apartment in Beijing and denied access to a phone and the internet. Washington Post, "Nobel widow allowed to leave China after long house arrest," 10 July 2018 As soon as Liu Xia returned home from visiting her husband in prison that month, she was confined in her fifth-floor apartment in Beijing and denied access to a phone and the internet. Gerry Shih, The Seattle Times, "Nobel widow allowed to leave China after long house arrest," 10 July 2018 Each section features shelters with benches and water fountains with water access at ground level. Dennis Sullivan, Daily Southtown, "Dog days of summer: Tinley Park district throws Beach Pawty at Canine Campus park," 9 July 2018 Denying women access to jobs has held back India’s economy. The Economist, "Culture and the labour market keep India’s women at home," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If convicted, Atrach could face nearly 10 years in prison for charges including identity theft and accessing and using computer data to commit fraud. Anna Millard,, "Hacker Charged For Breaking Into Selena Gomez's Emails," 14 July 2018 Los Angeles County prosecutors said Friday that 21-year-old Susan Antrach of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, has been charged with five identity-theft counts, five fraud counts and one count of accessing and using data without permission. CBS News, "Woman charged with hacking Selena Gomez’s email," 13 July 2018 Practically, finding adequate translation services for indigenous families is often difficult and leaves them with few avenues to access social services or interact in family court, often represented by someone who doesn’t speak the same language. Rory Taylor, Teen Vogue, "The Current Border Crisis Feels All Too Familiar for Indigenous Peoples in the United States," 12 July 2018 Visitors are encouraged to bring their smartphone or tablets to access Quick Response (QR) codes and view 3D models of what the dinosaurs would have looked like and hear a paleontologist pronounce their names. Matt Campbell, kansascity, "Prehistoric sea monsters come to life on your phone in new Museum at Prairiefire show," 16 June 2018 How to subscribe and start reading Subscribers can visit this page to learn how to access PCWorld on any device and start reading the current issue right away. Pcworld Staff, PCWorld, "PCWorld's June Digital Magazine: What's coming from Google," 8 June 2018 Throughout the morning, employees have been unable to access patients’ electronic health records, emails and use the phones, Gary Zavoral confirmed. Nashelly Chavez, sacbee, "System-wide failure hits Sacramento area Sutter Health clinics," 15 May 2018 Americans favored the idea of intergenerational living and interactions, but weren’t aware of, or able to access, the spaces, places, and services that offered such services. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How intergenerational living benefits the ‘book-end’ generations," 8 June 2018 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

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

9 Nov 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

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full of whispering sounds

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