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[ak-ses] /ˈæk sɛs/
the ability, right, or permission to approach, enter, speak with, or use; admittance:
They have access to the files.
the state or quality of being approachable:
The house was difficult of access.
a way or means of approach:
The only access to the house was a rough dirt road.
Theology. approach to God through Jesus Christ.
an attack or onset, as of a disease.
a sudden and strong emotional outburst.
verb (used with object)
to make contact with or gain access to; be able to reach, approach, enter, etc.:
Bank customers can access their checking accounts instantly through the new electronic system.
Computers. to locate (data) for transfer from one part of a computer system to another, generally between an external storage device and main storage.
Television. (of programming, time, etc.) available to the public:
Six channels now offer access services.
Origin of access
1275-1325; Middle English accesse (< Old French acces) < Latin accessus an approach, equivalent to acced-, variant stem of accēdere to accede + -tus suffix of v. action
Related forms
preaccess, noun
Can be confused
access, assess, excess. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for accesses
Historical Examples
  • accesses of anger an still noted, during which he is very vulgar.

    Pedagogical Anthropology Maria Montessori
  • These accesses of strength are sometimes the sign of the death agony.

    Les Misrables Victor Hugo
  • But when we are in a fever, have the sun and moon any influence upon the accesses of it, in its days of crisis?

    A Philosophical Dictionary, Volume 6 (of 10) Franois-Marie Arouet (AKA Voltaire)
  • Raymond had prayed to God, in some of his accesses of fanaticism, that he might suffer martyrdom in his holy cause.

  • Increasing age gave to these accesses of malady a character of danger, which she already began to remark with deep anxiety.

    The Daltons, Volume I (of II) Charles James Lever
  • It is fair, however, to say that these accesses of morality or moralising are not very frequent.

  • He was aware of hepatic pains, suffered from accesses of somnolence and suppressed gusts of fury which frightened him secretly.

    The Rescue Joseph Conrad
  • That the progress of philosophy has hardened Browning's heart to accesses of passion, or cramped his creative imagination?

    Platform Monologues T. G. Tucker
  • So it went for weeks, for months, with the accesses of depression and anger always rarer.

    The Mystery Stewart Edward White and Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • Bands of Highlanders watched its gates and accesses, guarding against Hanoverian sallies.


    Mary Johnston
British Dictionary definitions for accesses


the act of approaching or entering
the condition of allowing entry, esp (of a building or room) allowing entry by wheelchairs, prams, etc
the right or privilege to approach, reach, enter, or make use of something
a way or means of approach or entry
the opportunity or right to see or approach someone: she fights for divorce and free access to her children
(modifier) designating programmes made by the general public as distinguished from those made by professional broadcasters: access television
a sudden outburst or attack, as of rage or disease
to gain access to; make accessible or available
(transitive) (computing)
  1. to obtain or retrieve (information) from a storage device
  2. to place (information) in a storage device See also direct access, sequential access
Word Origin
C14: from Old French or from Latin accessus an approach, from accēdere to accede
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for accesses



early 14c., "an attack of fever," from Old French acces "onslaught, attack; onset (of an illness)" (14c.), from Latin accessus "a coming to, an approach," noun use of past participle of accedere "approach" (see accede). The later senses are directly from Latin. Meaning "an entrance" is from c.1600. Meaning "habit or power of getting into the presence of (someone or something)" is from late 14c.



1962, originally in computing, from access (n.). Related: Accessed; accessing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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accesses in Medicine

access ac·cess (āk'sěs)

  1. A means of approaching, entering, exiting, or making use of; passage.

  2. The space required to view a tooth and manipulate dental instruments to remove decay and prepare the tooth for restoration.

  3. The opening in the crown of a tooth necessary to allow adequate admittance to the pulp space to clean, shape, and seal the root canal.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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