The Meaning of Access: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of access? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word access, including its definition, usage, word origin, and more!

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What does the word access mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster unabridged dictionary of the English language as well as other English dictionaries like American Heritage and Collins English Dictionary, the word access can be used as a noun or a verb. As a noun, the word access refers to some permission, ability, or liberty to enter or approach a place or communicate with a person or thing. This refers to a freedom or a way or means of entering or approaching something. It can also refer to some onset or sudden outburst of an emotion, or an increase by addition. As a verb, the word access is a transitive verb that means to be able to enter, use, or get near something, or to open or load something such as a computer file or internet website. The word access is two syllables – ac-cess, and the pronunciation of access is ˈak-ˌses.

There are many different languages that contain words meaning access. You may notice that some of these words look or sound similar to the word access. These are called cognates. Cognates are words that look and sound similar between languages and retain the same meaning. These are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations for the word access is provided by Word Sense

  •  Czech: přístup‎ (masc.)
  •  Greek: πρόσβαση‎ (fem.), προσπέλαση‎ (fem.)
  •  Cyrillic: приступ‎ (masc.)
  •  Russian: до́ступ‎ (masc.)
  •  Dutch: toegang‎, toegangsweg‎, passage‎
  •  French: accès‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: pääsy‎
  •  Italian: accesso‎ (masc.)
  •  Latvian: piekļuve‎
  •  Slovene: dostop‎ (masc.)
  •  Estonian: pääs‎
  •  Bulgarian: достъп‎ (masc.)
  •  Esperanto: aliro‎
  •  Swedish: ingång‎ (common), passage‎ (common), väg‎ (common)
  •  Romanian: acces‎ (neut.)
  •  Nynorsk: åtgang‎ (masc.), tilgang‎ (masc.)
  •  Portuguese: acesso‎ (masc.)
  •  Bokmål: adgang‎ (masc.), tilgang‎ (masc.)
  •  Polish: dostęp‎ (m-in)
  •  Roman: pristup‎ (masc.)
  •  Hebrew: גישה‎ (gisha)
  •  Spanish: acceso‎ (masc.)
  •  German: Zugang‎ (masc.), Eingang‎ (masc.)
  •  Maltese: aċċess‎

What is the origin of the word access?

According to Etymonline, the word access has been used as a noun since early 14c to refer to an attack of fever. This comes from the Old French acces, meaning an onslaught or attack. This has been used since 14c, from the Latin accessus, meaning a coming to or way or approach. This comes from the past participle of accedere meaning to approach, from the prefix ad meaning to and the root cedere meaning to go or move, from the Proto-Indo-European root ked. The 1600s English sense of access to mean an entrance comes directly from Latin. The verb access, accessed and accessing have been used since 1962, originally in computing. 

How can the word access be used in a sentence?

The word access can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definition. You can also try making a quiz or flashcards for yourself to study and test your knowledge on different definitions. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. Below are many examples of access to get you started!

The IT department struggled to gain access to the local area network and could not troubleshoot the telephone line. The bank customers were frustrated when they could not access their checking accounts or other bank account because of this.

The people who used wheelchairs and other accessibility devices were filled with rage when the only access to the building was via a rough dirt road. People in the general public pushing prams or other wheeled devices were also frustrated by the means of approach, since they were not afforded the privilege of access to the building.

The computer science major had a fit of passion when he could not gain access to the computer program on his external storage device. The part of a computer system he was trying to use was locked by a series of characters and digits he did not know. 

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word access?

There are many different words and phrases that one can use in place of the word access. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another given word or phrase. Synonyms are a great tool to use to avoid repeating oneself, as well as to quickly expand one’s vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word access is provided by Thesaurus

  •  route
  •  admittance
  •  means of entry
  •  approach
  •  introduction
  •  door
  •  ingress
  •  entrance
  •  in
  •  entree
  •  road
  •  admission
  •  passage
  •  key
  •  contact
  •  entrée
  •  path
  •  avenue
  •  open door
  •  entry
  •  way
  •  open arms
  •  course
  •  connection

There are also numerous different words that mean the opposite of the word access. These opposite words are called antonyms. Antonyms are another great tool to learn to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of opposite words for the word access is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  renouncement
  •  contradiction
  •  dismissing
  •  turndown
  •  denial
  •  disproof
  •  disallowance
  •  forswearing
  •  negative
  •  nonacceptance
  •  dismissal
  •  prohibition
  •  gainsaying
  •  controversion
  •  dissent
  •  repudiating
  •  rebuff
  •  refutal
  •  statement abnegation
  •  no way
  •  cold shoulder
  •  brush-off
  •  rebuttal
  •  rejecting
  •  abstaining
  •  disapproval
  •  nix
  •  retraction
  •  nay
  •  repulse
  •  veto
  •  protestation
  •  noncommittal
  •  refraining
  •  disavowal
  •  adjuration
  •  renegement
  •  renunciation
  •  negation
  •  refutation
  •  disclaimer
  •  refusing
  •  declination
  •  rejection
  •  repudiation

Overall, the word access means having the permission or ability to enter or approach a place, person or thing. This can also refer to the verb form of access, meaning the action of doing said accessing. An access can also refer to a sudden onset of emotion. This word is of Latin and Proto-Indo-European roots.


  1. access: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. ACCESS Synonyms: 25 Synonyms & Antonyms for ACCESS | Thesaurus 
  3. DENIAL Synonyms: 55 Synonyms & Antonyms for DENIAL | Thesaurus 
  4. access | Origin and meaning of access | Online Etymology Dictionary