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

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of access in a Sentence

Noun We have Internet access at the library. a sudden access of hay fever was making him feel miserable Verb 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 Al Braithwaite, Oldsmar's city manager, said at the news conference that the system that enabled remote access to the plant's computers had been disabled and that the city planned to find a replacement. NBC News, "In Florida, a near-miss with a cybersecurity worst-case scenario," 9 Feb. 2021 The experts repeatedly praised their Chinese counterparts, saying the government had worked in good faith to grant access to important sites, including laboratories and markets. Javier C. Hernández,, "China scores a public relations win after WHO mission to Wuhan," 9 Feb. 2021 The calculation for how to control access to nursing homes has not been an easy one, officials have said. Laura Romero, ABC News, "As more nursing homes receive COVID-19 vaccine, relatives demand greater access to residents," 9 Feb. 2021 Last month, Facebook asked the board to decide whether to reinstate Trump’s access to the platform. Steve Coll, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Impeachment Trial Offers a Chance to Seize the Initiative on the Future of Free Speech," 8 Feb. 2021 Oregonians ages 80 and older will be allowed widespread access to vaccines against COVID-19 starting today, making older residents the newest group eligible for protection against the coronavirus. oregonlive, "How to schedule COVID-19 vaccines in Oregon: 5 things to know as seniors 80 and older become eligible," 8 Feb. 2021 This is a moment where access to information has never been higher. Wes Moore, Star Tribune, "Angry day traders targeted wrong Robin Hood and threatened me, a nonprofit CEO," 8 Feb. 2021 Cantrell on Friday announced rules that will shut bars citywide from Friday through Fat Tuesday on Feb. 16 as well as promising checkpoints to limit access to Bourbon Street and Frenchmen Street and fencing to block off the Claiborne Corridor. Jeff Adelson,, "Three more New Orleans bars shuttered in pre-Mardi Gras enforcement of coronavirus rules," 8 Feb. 2021 Alabama releasing that data would give a reference point as to whether Blacks are equitably receiving the vaccine and address areas on improving access. Howard Koplowitz |, al, "What is Alabama doing to vaccinate Black people against COVID?," 8 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Most land management agencies also sell annual passes that allow people to access public lands for free all year. oregonlive, "National parks will be free for 6 days in 2021, starting with Martin Luther King Jr. Day," 16 Jan. 2021 Facebook and YouTube could allow the president to access his account again as early as next week. Author: Gerrit De Vynck, Rachel Lerman, Anchorage Daily News, "YouTube suspends Trump, days after Twitter and Facebook," 14 Jan. 2021 Those working to save the deal also note that despite the violations, Iran continues to allow inspectors to access all sites in the country. David Rising, Star Tribune, "UN watchdog confirms another Iranian breach of nuclear deal," 14 Jan. 2021 Now a combination of phone calls, digital screen sharing, and even pointing a laptop or smartphone camera at his screen allow Kaja to access help when a tricky file — like a photo of text — resists technical wizardry. Chase Difeliciantonio,, "How blind Google engineer handles challenge of working remotely," 28 Dec. 2020 Excedrin can be poisonous for children, and the bottles with holes in them could allow children to access the pills and swallow them. al, "433,000 bottles of Excedrin recalled," 27 Dec. 2020 Last, the committee debated whether the EUA should cover people aged 16 and 17, which would allow that group to access the vaccine initially. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "FDA advisers give thumbs up to Pfizer vaccine, paving way for authorization," 10 Dec. 2020 Sonoma County voters last month approved a ballot measure that would allow its civilian oversight body for the Sheriff’s Office to access all sources of investigative evidence. Leila Miller Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "California bets that civilian oversight can help reform police. But will watchdogs have the power they need?," 6 Dec. 2020 The government asked Howell to allow investigators to access communications that might be shielded from scrutiny by attorney-client privilege. Erik Larson, Fortune, "Prosecutors are investigating a potential bribes-for-pardons scheme as Trump’s term ends," 2 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for access

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for access

Last Updated

16 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Access.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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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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