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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English accesse, acces, borrowed from Middle French acces (attack, onslaught) or from its source Latin accessus, perfect passive participle of accēdō (approach; accede), from ad (to, toward, at) + cēdō (move, yield). Doublet of accessus. First attested in the early 14th century. The sense "entrance" was first attested about 1380.



access (countable and uncountable, plural accesses)

  1. (uncountable) A way or means of approaching or entering; an entrance; a passage.
  2. (uncountable) The act of approaching or entering; an advance.
  3. (uncountable) The right or ability of approaching or entering; admittance; admission; accessibility.
  4. (uncountable) The quality of being easy to approach or enter.
    • c. 1599–1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene i]:
      I did repel his fetters, and denied His access to me.
    • 2011 September 20, Graeme Paton, “University access plan 'will fail', says Russell Group”, in Telegraph[1]:
      Coalition plans to widen access to university will fail to get to the 'root cause' of the problem, according to the Russell Group.
  5. (uncountable) Admission to sexual intercourse.
  6. (archaic, countable) An increase by addition; accession
    an access of territory
  7. (countable) An onset, attack, or fit of disease; an ague fit.
    • 1724, [Gilbert] Burnet, [Gilbert Burnet Jr.], editor, Bishop Burnet’s History of His Own Time. [], volume (please specify |volume=I or II), London: [] Thomas Ward [], OCLC 863504080:
      The first access looked like an apoplexy.
    • 1953, Samuel Beckett, Watt
      Then he resumed the pose, the decent pose, from which the sudden access of his old trouble had startled him, his hands on his knees, []
  8. (countable) An outburst of an emotion; a paroxysm; a fit of passion.
    • 1917, Frank L. Packard, chapter 15, in The Adventures of Jimmie Dale:
      The Magpie's flashlight, as he shifted it from his right hand to his left and wrenched out his revolver, had fallen upon two men crouched close against the wall by the library door—and he screamed out in an access of fury. "De double cross! A plant! De bulls! You damned snitch, Larry!" screamed out the Magpie—and fired.
    • 1946, Arnold J. Toynbee, A Study of History (Abridgement of Volumes I-VI by D.C. Somervell)
      It appears that, about the middle of the fourth century of the Christian Era, the Germans in the Roman service started the new practice of retaining their native names; and this change of etiquette, which seems to have been abrupt, points to a sudden access of self-confidence and self-assurance in the souls of the barbarian personnel which had previously been content to 'go Roman' without reservations.
  9. (uncountable, law) The right of a noncustodial parent to visit their child.
  10. (uncountable, computing) The process of locating data in memory.
  11. (uncountable, networking) Connection to or communication with a computer program or to the Internet.
  12. (uncountable, Scotland) complicity or assent in.
Usage notes[edit]
  • (outburst, paroxysm): sometimes confused with excess.
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

  • First attested in 1962.



access (third-person singular simple present accesses, present participle accessing, simple past and past participle accessed)

  1. (transitive) To gain or obtain access to.
  2. (transitive, computing) To have access to (data).
    I can't access most of the data on the computer without a password.