Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Etymology 1[edit]



access (countable and uncountable, plural accesses)

  1. (uncountable) A way or means of approaching or entering; an entrance; a passage.
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost
      All access was thronged.
  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. 1600, William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet Act 2 Scene 1
      I did repel his fetters, and denied His access to me. - Shakespeare, Hamlet, II-i
    • 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
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost
      I, from the influence of thy looks, receive access in every virtue.
  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.
  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.
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.


  • access in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • access in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911.
  • access at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • access in Keywords for Today: A 21st Century Vocabulary, edited by The Keywords Project, Colin MacCabe, Holly Yanacek, 2018.