Access vs excess

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Access and excess are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation, but have very different definitions. We will examine the difference between the meanings of access and excess, where these words came from, and some examples of their use in sentences.

Access means the route whereby one enters a place or the authorization to enter a place. Access also means the authorization to view information, to use equipment, or to speak with a certain person. Access is used as a verb to mean to enter a place or view information, use equipment, or speak to a certain person. The word access is derived from the Latin word accessus, which means approach or entrance. Related words are accesses, accessed, accessing.

Excess means an abundance, an amount that is more than one requires, a surfeit or surplus. The word excess may be used as a noun or adjective and is derived from the Latin word excessus, which means to go beyond the bounds or to surpass. The plural form of excess is excesses.


They want the federal court to prohibit the state from enforcing the ruling so they can control who can access the beach near their homes. (The Chicago Tribune)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday threatened to sue the Trump administration over its decision to restrict New Yorkers’ access to some programs that allow faster security checks at ports of entry, part of a dispute about the state’s limits on cooperation with current U.S. immigration policy. (Reuters)

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission unanimously voted Wednesday to approve Public Service Co. of Oklahoma’s proposed terms and conditions for compensating customers for excess power generated by eligible customer-owned solar and wind systems. (The Journal REcord)

Those areas could experience 24-hour rainfall totals in excess of 200mm on Monday and Tuesday, the weather bureau as warned. (The Lithgow Mercury)