ac·​cess | \ ˈak-ˌses 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for access

Synonyms: Noun

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

Synonyms: Verb

enter, penetrate, pierce

Antonyms: Verb

depart, exit, leave

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Public records showing a person’s criminal history aren’t typically something an officer has access to during a traffic stop. Washington Post, "Shooter’s criminal past likely unknown to officer he killed," 14 Aug. 2019 After its installation, homeowners have access to a remote monitoring system available on their phone and receive real-time water parameter readings, such as pH and temperature. Selena Barrientos, House Beautiful, "Infinity Aquarium Design Will Make You Want a $55,000 Fish Tank," 14 Aug. 2019 If anything, a dearth of local language news services means users don’t always have access to authentic sources for quick fact-checks by themselves. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Facebook is going after fake news in local African languages," 14 Aug. 2019 The ostensible reason was that Blumenbach had access to a private collection of skulls, and decided that a young girl’s cranium from the country of Georgia in the Caucasus Mountains was particularly attractive. Patrick Iber, The New Republic, "Pioneers of Cultural Relativism," 14 Aug. 2019 The program allows certain school personnel to have access to a firearm on a school campus if an intruder shows up at the school with the intent of harming students. al, "More answers to your questions about education in Alabama," 14 Aug. 2019 For even more exercise, both the Farm Museum and McKenzie’s have access to some of the shorter loops on the Plummer’s Ridge hiking trail network ( David Lyon,, "Simpler, gentler: A journey through the eastern N.H. hinterlands," 13 Aug. 2019 Despite pledging to do so, the city didn't purchase the equipment and last said officers have access to a city app that allows them to put information into the system and see a map, which is still a two-step process. Sharon Coolidge, USA TODAY, "Cincinnati family sues city after son's 911 calls failed to save him," 13 Aug. 2019 The lawsuit filed in May centered largely on whether Reid should have access to unredacted police body camera videos and other city documents. Genevieve Bookwalter,, "Lawsuit filed by Evanston city clerk against city officials over FOIA practices dismissed," 12 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Hidden in a device setting is a mobile browser that users can activate then use to access different websites, like YouTube or Plex. Natt Garun, The Verge, "How to watch YouTube on a Peloton bike or treadmill," 14 Aug. 2019 Firefighters used a crash vehicle to access the site and performed medical assessments on two occupants of the aircraft. Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, "Two killed in crash of small plane at Camarillo Airport," 7 Aug. 2019 But with more and more women using social media to access and share a more diverse sample of images, experiences, lifestyles, and opinions, the disconnect between fantasy and reality is growing deeper and more glaring. Lindsey Tramuta, Glamour, "These Women Are Redefining What It Means to Have ‘Parisian Style’," 26 July 2019 Please use alternate routes to access the gaming district. Saja Hindi, The Denver Post, "One dead after vehicle crashes into Clear Creek Canyon," 14 July 2019 Fences that people had broken to escape were now gaping holes used to access the site. Faith Karimi, CNN, "Las Vegas police share the many lessons learned after deadliest massacre in modern US history," 11 July 2019 Users of those devices need to use the Firefox browser to access YouTube videos, which is less than ideal. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Amazon and Google declare truce, allow YouTube and Prime video streaming on each other’s devices," 9 July 2019 Imagine for a moment a talent platform that uses your digital ID to access your resume and your micro-credentials. Deepa Mahajan, Quartz, "The gig economy has an identity problem—and digital ID could fix it," 27 June 2019 Citing concerns about airplane noise for residents in West Adams, Mid-City and surrounding neighborhoods, the city of L.A. is suing the Federal Aviation Administration to get a court to invalidate the routes jets now use to access LAX., "Today: The Asterisk on ‘ICE Out of the Jails’," 25 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about access

Statistics for access

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for access

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a period when something is suspended

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!