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 The group found different types of vulnerabilities depending on what level of access an attacker has to a voter's device or to the Voatz servers and application programming interface. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "Voting App Flaws Could Have Let Hackers Manipulate Results," 13 Feb. 2020 Iowa at Indiana: Odds, betting lines and picks Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Geoff Clark, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Iowa at Indiana college basketball odds, picks and best bets," 13 Feb. 2020 On the mundane end of scale, hackers could simply shut satellites down, denying access to their services. William Akoto, The Conversation, "Hackers could shut down satellites – or turn them into weapons," 12 Feb. 2020 But experts say, black people may be drawn franchising over sole proprietorship because of limited access to business connections and support. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Franchises help African Americans 'level the financial the playing field'," 11 Feb. 2020 The figure at The Washington Post, which has the enormous advantage of access to Amazon’s super-efficient payment system, was under 2 percent, and at the Times under 4 percent. Nicholas Lemann, The New York Review of Books, "Can Journalism Be Saved?," 11 Feb. 2020 One of the charms of baseball is that playoff access is a precious commodity. Globe Staff,, "NBA and MLB show us what change for the worse looks like," 11 Feb. 2020 Riders can use their phones to browse their inboxes or draft a couple emails, but internet access in the city’s tunnels is spotty. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "How Your Laptop Ruined Your Life," 10 Feb. 2020 Developers need access to samples to be sure their tests are reliable, and companies have to submit paperwork for FDA review. Luciana Borio And Scott Gottlieb, WSJ, "Stop a U.S. Coronavirus Outbreak Before It Starts," 4 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Cuomo said that federal officials can access criminal records from the FBI. Washington Post, "Cuomo to propose compromise, hopes to end Global Entry ban," 12 Feb. 2020 Since the house is set into a hill, the pool area is accessed from the home's lower level, giving it the feel of a secret garden—and providing easy access from the guest suite next to the den. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "This Designer Creates a Home for Her Family With Surprises at Every Turn," 8 Feb. 2020 Muslims who are left out of the CAA can still access normal channels for admission, just like refugees not covered by Lautenberg can apply through usual channels. Shikha Dalmia, TheWeek, "How Modi supporters are trying to cloak an anti-Muslim bill in American law," 7 Feb. 2020 Faculty and staff could access the calculator from their accounts. Christine Fernando, Indianapolis Star, "IU GPA calculator gave students access to other students’ GPA, grades," 4 Feb. 2020 Well, the potential uses for hydrogen in general are widened if there’s a metallic form that scientists can access, and in the race for metallic hydrogen, the race itself is something of a grail quest for scientific bragging rights. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Wait, Did Scientists Finally Create Metallic Hydrogen?," 3 Feb. 2020 Identity theft: Kelsey Road On Jan. 10, police were dispatched to a Kelsey Road residence after the homeowners reported that their bank account had been fraudulently accessed. John Benson, cleveland, "Lakewood resident arrested for assaulting bar patrons: Parma Police Blotter," 29 Jan. 2020 The study surveyed 20,619 transgender people and found that 90 percent of trans adults who wanted, but could not access, puberty blockers experienced suicidal thoughts. Tim Fitzsimons, NBC News, "Puberty blockers linked to lower suicide risk for transgender people," 24 Jan. 2020 Let’s assist them to keep obscenity especially out of the hands of children, who can easily access it now online, on their smartphones, on their laptops, on their desktop computers . . Zachary Evans, National Review, "The Case for Wielding Obscenity Laws against Online Pornography," 17 Jan. 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 2020

Cite this Entry

“Access.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for access

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with access

Spanish Central: Translation of access

Nglish: Translation of access for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of access for Arabic Speakers

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