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  • (US) enPR: ăkʹsĕs, IPA(key): /ˈæk.sɛs/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: ac‧cess

Etymology 1[edit]

  • First attested in the early 14th century.
  • (entrance): First attested about 1380.
  • From Middle English, 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).


access ‎(countable and uncountable, plural accesses)

  1. (uncountable) A way or means of approaching or entering; an entrance; a passage.
    • All access was thronged. - Milton
  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. (countable) An increase by addition; accession; as, an access of territory.
    • I, from the influence of thy looks, receive access in every virtue. - Milton
  7. (countable) An onset, attack, or fit of disease; an ague fit.
    • The first access looked like an apoplexy. - Burnet
  8. (countable) An outburst of an emotion; a paroxysm; a fit of passion; as, an access of fury.
    • 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.
    Usage note: sometimes confused with excess
  9. (uncountable, law) The right of a non-custodial parent to visit their child.
  10. (uncountable, computing) The process of locating data in memory.
  11. (uncountable, Internet) Connection to or communication with a computer program or to the Internet.
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
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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.



Most common English words before 1923: ordinary · forms · complete · #949: access · ways · grave · serious