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 fact that most of them nevertheless won’t be able to charge their purchases is more than an inconvenience; this lack of access to credit dramatically undercuts their financial security. Washington Post, "Have a Credit Card? You’re Among China’s Fortunate," 18 Sep. 2019 Students leaving school Thursday afternoon described a system of easy access to vaping devices that contain nicotine or THC, despite strict penalties from administrators if they are caught. Matt Richtel, New York Times, "Vaping Bad: Were 2 Wisconsin Brothers the Walter Whites of THC Oils?," 15 Sep. 2019 Despite not having access to the properties of Spider-Man and the X-Men back in 2008 when Iron Man was released, Marvel clearly still wanted those characters to exist in the MCU. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Deleted Iron Man post-credits scene actually references Spider-Man, X-Men at MCU's beginning," 14 Sep. 2019 Due to the conflict between state and federal cannabis laws, these workers are under constant threat of federal prosecution, and a lack of access to banking services puts their safety and the safety of others at risk., "Ten Democratic presidential candidates will face off for the third debate of the year on Thursday, and for voters who care about marijuana policy, it represents another opportunity to hear exactly how each contender plans to tackle the issue if elected.," 13 Sep. 2019 This plan would involve the democratization of healthcare, meaning that the government would mandate that every American citizen have access to the same type of health insurance. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Andrew Yang's 2020 Dark-Horse Presidential Platform," 12 Sep. 2019 Then That) don’t have the same level of access to Apple’s operating system and can’t work as smoothly. Reed Albergotti, oregonlive, "How Apple uses its App Store to copy the best ideas," 6 Sep. 2019 The ease of access is definitely there,'' said Bill Waldock, professor of safety science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona. Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY, "American Airlines sabotage saga: What we know and safety questions answered," 6 Sep. 2019 If This, Then That) don't have the same level of access to Apple's operating system and can't work as smoothly. Reed Albergotti, Anchorage Daily News, "How Apple uses its App Store to copy the best ideas of others," 5 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Ironically, several migrants have made the move in order to ensure their children can access better educational facilities and standards. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Three in four Africans applying for student visas in Canada this year have been rejected," 13 Sep. 2019 After taking a tour of The Ballard House, a Cinco Ranch High School senior asked if step stools for guests to better access their very tall beds would be helpful. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Eagle Scout project benefits The Ballard House," 6 Sep. 2019 News outlet TechCrunch found a database of 419 million Facebook users containing unique IDs and phone numbers left unprotected on a server that anyone could access. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "As Facebook launches "Facebook Dating" in U.S., a blog finds 400 million exposed user phone numbers," 5 Sep. 2019 Minorities and non-citizens are especially reluctant to turn in a census, for an unfounded fear that the government can access census data. Nick Sortal,, "Florida League highlights common city challenges | Opinion," 29 Aug. 2019 Hardin explained that McClain had accessed the account to make sure that there were sufficient funds in Worden’s account to pay bills and care for the child. Claudia Harmata,, "NASA Astronaut Accused of Hacking Estranged Spouse's Bank Account from Space," 25 Aug. 2019 According to the five-time major winner, he was evacuated and couldn't access his clothes or clubs as his tee time approached. Daniel Rapaport,, "Phil Mickelson Almost Missed His Tee Time Because His Hotel Caught on Fire," 18 Aug. 2019 The therapies must also be priced low enough so that impoverished people can access them, says Lynch. Amy Maxmen, Scientific American, "Treatment for Extreme Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Wins U.S. Government Approval," 16 Aug. 2019 Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri in a statement on Friday granted approval for Tlaib to access the West Bank on humanitarian grounds to visit her grandmother. Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY, "'A complete setup': Trump criticizes Tlaib for declining Israel's approval to see elderly grandmother," 16 Aug. 2019

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

26 Oct 2019

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 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

Comments on access

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an agreement to stop fighting a war

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