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

attack, bout, case, fit, seizure, siege, spell, turn

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

Customers today are choosing to utilize convenient digital self-help options to manage their accounts and access and pay for our products and service. Akira Kyles,, "Carroll County’s only Comcast service center to close in October," 11 Sep. 2019 With that trust came career defining access into leading artists' lives and a front-row seat to the hip-hop world. Ben Church And Thomas Collins, CNN, "Famed hip-hop photographer highlights soccer's black culture," 11 Sep. 2019 The event, 6-8 p.m. on Sept. 27, includes after-hour access to the garden, entertainment, and a chance to learn about the area’s plants and flowers from volunteer docents., "A new whale-watch vessel," 11 Sep. 2019 Looney did not provide specific examples, but also said some degree of public access is preferable. Keith M. Phanuef,, "Lawmakers balk at being excluded from decision-making in education partnership," 11 Sep. 2019 In the same announcement, the U.S. Forest Service Chugach National Forest has opened public access to the Russian River Campground, Russian Lake Trail, Russian River Falls, Barber Cabin and the K’Beq Day Use Area. Jeff Parrott, Anchorage Daily News, "Firefighters monitor Cooper Landing while some recreational areas begin to open near Swan Lake fire," 11 Sep. 2019 The Ravens completed the enhancements to their digital ticket access control system, which means that fans no longer simply have a QR code to get in. Giana Han,, "The Ravens’ home opener is Sunday. Here’s what you need to know before heading to M&T Bank Stadium.," 11 Sep. 2019 Located a few miles away from the National Mall, the campus offers easy access to world-class museums and some of the country’s most famous historical sites. National Geographic, "Photo, Film, and Multimedia Journalism at Nat Geo in Washington, D.C.," 10 Sep. 2019 The United States has limited Turkey’s access to a few miles. Carlotta Gall, New York Times, "Turkey’s Radical Plan: Send a Million Refugees Back to Syria," 10 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Starting that day, anyone who can access the Apple TV app on their devices can begin subscribing for $4.99/month. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Apple TV+ subscription service soft-launches November 1 for $4.99/mo," 10 Sep. 2019 The Lyft pilot program is operating through On the Go’s Navigator program, which can be accessed via the website at Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Pomerado News, "Pilot program is offering limited free rides to seniors," 6 Sep. 2019 Customers can request deliveries online or via Alexa, the tech giant's virtual home assistant that can be accessed with an Echo smart home device. Alexandria Burris, Indianapolis Star, "Amazon launches on-demand grocery delivery service for Prime members in Indianapolis," 4 Sep. 2019 By pretending to be someone else on the phone, a voice fraudster can access private information that wouldn’t otherwise be available and can be used for nefarious purposes. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "A new kind of cybercrime uses AI and your voice against you," 31 Aug. 2019 Hacker Lisbeth Salander steals a computer program that can access codes for nuclear weapons worldwide. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 1 - 7, 2019: John Wayne in ‘The Searchers’ and more," 30 Aug. 2019 Hartford HealthCare patients, Flaks said, also are an active part of the equation through an app that can be accessed through a cellphone or computer. Kenneth R. Gosselin,, "Jeffrey Flaks takes over as CEO of Hartford HealthCare amid time of expansion and consolidation across Connecticut," 29 Aug. 2019 Toucans, for instance, eat fruits that other animals can’t access—their long beaks help them reach into otherwise inaccessible crevices. Natasha Daly, National Geographic, "What the Amazon fires mean for wild animals," 23 Aug. 2019 The comments seemed to imply that American greatness is built on a cultural inheritance that some people cannot access, whether born in America or not. The Economist, "A society’s values and beliefs matter for its economy," 25 July 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

17 Sep 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with access

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for access

Spanish Central: Translation of access

Nglish: Translation of access for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of access for Arabic Speakers

Comments on access

What made you want to look up access? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to spread over or through

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