[ ak-ses ]
See synonyms for: accessaccessedaccessing on

  1. the ability, right, or permission to approach, enter, speak with, or use; admittance: They have access to the files.

  2. a way or means of approach: The only access to the house was a rough dirt road.

  1. the state or quality of being approachable: Located deep in the woods on an island with no dock, the cabin was difficult of access.

  2. Theology. approach to God through Jesus Christ.

  3. an attack or onset, as of a disease or symptom: Some influenza patients experience attacks for many weeks after the primary access.In a violent access of coughing I fractured one of my ribs.

  4. a sudden, strong burst of emotion: In an access of clumsy tenderness, he tried to dry the tears that trembled on her eyelashes.

verb (used with object)
  1. 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 online portal.

  2. Computers. (of a program or system component) to retrieve (data) for use by another program or application or for transfer from one part of the system to another: This key enables other applications to access data from within the event management system even if you aren't logged in.

  1. Television. (of programming, time, etc.) available to the public: Six channels now offer access services.

Origin of access

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English accesse, from Old French acces or directly from Latin accessus “an approach,” equivalent to acced-, variant stem of accēdere “to accede” + -tus suffix of verb action

Other words from access

  • pre·ac·cess, noun

Words that may be confused with access Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use access in a sentence

  • "That's the worst of it," said the girl, with one of her sudden accesses of sweet candor.

    The Clarion | Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • To all appearances equally removed from effeminateness and brutality, he was subject, nevertheless, to accesses of both.

    Atlantis | Gerhart Hauptmann
  • “I wish you would,” said John, putting his hand to his brow in one of his accesses of giddiness.

  • Lambert had taken care of that by posting regiments in an outer ring round Morley's and Mosse's, so as to block all accesses.

  • When thwarted he was liable to these accesses to rage, and, speaking figuratively, they spoilt his character.

    Jess | H. Rider Haggard

British Dictionary definitions for access


/ (ˈæksɛs) /

  1. the act of approaching or entering

  2. the condition of allowing entry, esp (of a building or room) allowing entry by wheelchairs, prams, etc

  1. the right or privilege to approach, reach, enter, or make use of something

  2. a way or means of approach or entry

  3. the opportunity or right to see or approach someone: she fights for divorce and free access to her children

  4. (modifier) designating programmes made by the general public as distinguished from those made by professional broadcasters: access television

  5. a sudden outburst or attack, as of rage or disease

  1. to gain access to; make accessible or available

  2. (tr) computing

Origin of access

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