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 Floridians under age 65 should have access to a COVID-19 vaccine in March, and it should be widely distributed the month after, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday. Scott Travis,, "Vaccine should be available to younger people in March, DeSantis says," 25 Feb. 2021 Peoples said participants will receive the financial gift of $500 a month for 12 months and will have access to other programs and services that could help them out. Carrie Napoleon,, "Gary will take part in universal income pilot program: 125 residents to receive $500 a month for a year," 25 Feb. 2021 Workers at these schools would have access to appointments on Sundays. Howard Blume Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "L.A. Unified will get 40% of school staff vaccine doses in effort to target neediest areas," 25 Feb. 2021 The vast majority of Americans do not have access to a bike lane or bike path. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "On Climate, Wall Street Out-Orwells Orwell," 25 Feb. 2021 The reports provided confirmation of the initial results announced by Johnson & Johnson late last month, indicating that the United States is likely to soon have access to a third coronavirus vaccine developed in under a year. New York Times, "Johnson & Johnson’s Vaccine Works Well and May Curb Virus Spread," 24 Feb. 2021 Only about half of households with people approaching retirement age have any retirement savings, and not even close to half of workers at the lowest rung of the income ladder even have access to a 401(k)-type retirement plan. Star Tribune, "Schafer: Sure, retirement savings for many held up in 2020. We should still do better.," 24 Feb. 2021 Ramanan Krishnamoorti, chief energy officer at the University of Houston, said many Texas power plants only have access to incremental supplies of gas, which works when there is spare capacity on the pipelines, but faltered last week. Collin Eaton, WSJ, "Texas Is Awash in Natural Gas. It Didn’t Help in the Storm," 24 Feb. 2021 In Washington’s Olympic National Park and Forest, Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort has 32 cabins, access to natural hot springs and plenty of room for safe social distancing. Christine Sarkis, USA TODAY, "Planning a vacation with your COVID-19 bubble: Pick from private tours, camping, luxury options," 24 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb These warrants allow police to rapidly accelerate their ability to access our private information. Sidney Fussell, Wired, "How Your Digital Trails Wind Up in the Police’s Hands," 28 Dec. 2020 In order to access people’s MySpace accounts, Wallace and Rines devised a plan to get people to hand over their account information. Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, "The decade-long quest to stop “Spamford” Wallace," 28 Dec. 2020 The ability to access capital has enabled Swedish developers to go on a buying spree. Hanna Hoikkala,, "Sweden Gaming Stocks Crowned Lockdown Winners, With More to Come," 21 Dec. 2020 Your ability to access gentle strength can turn a sticky or confused interaction into a transformative moment. Tarot Astrologers,, "Daily horoscope for December 19, 2020," 19 Dec. 2020 Such companies could, for instance, be blocked under the bill from tying the ability to access one of their services to purchasing for another core service from the gatekeeper. Sam Schechner, WSJ, "Tech Giants Face New Rules in Europe, Backed by Huge Fines," 15 Dec. 2020 Trump has railed against the Chinese ownership of the popular video app, raising national security concerns about Beijing’s ability to access data from American TikTok customers. Washington Post, "TikTok sale deadline will pass, though regulators will hold off on enforcing divestiture," 5 Dec. 2020 The legislation would also offer carbon capture developers the ability to access the tax credit through direct cash payments, something companies have been asking for with particular urgency amid the pandemic. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy, presented by API: Top Republican looks to negotiate with Democrats on Biden climate agenda," 4 Dec. 2020 In the most recent lawsuit, Cathay has obtained a writ of garnishment against both Shilo Management and Hemstreet that will give the bank the ability to access their bank accounts. oregonlive, "A third of Oregon’s Paycheck Protection Program money went to 1.6% of loan recipients," 4 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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Learn More about access

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

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Access.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 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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Comments on access

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