Access vs. Obtain: What's the Difference?
To gain entry or use of something. To get hold of or acquire something.
Access and Obtain, both verbs, have divergent connotations. "Access" typically implies the ability to enter, use, or approach something. In a computer system, a user might access a file, indicating interaction or usage without implying possession. Conversely, "obtain" involves gaining possession of something. When you obtain a document, it suggests a successful effort to get hold of it, making it yours to use as you see fit.
Using access implies a focus on the act of reaching or using something, potentially distant or protected. For instance, in digital environments, one might access data, reaching through a network to interact with it. Obtain leans towards the accomplishment of gaining possession or procuring something. It doesn’t merely involve reaching or interacting with an entity, but ensuring that it's in your control or possession.
In legal contexts, "access" might indicate the ability to interact with resources or information, such as accessing records. This doesn’t denote ownership or possession, merely interaction. On the other hand, to "obtain" legal documents means you've secured copies for your own use, showing a transfer of possession which "access" does not signify.
Differentiating between access and obtain also pivots around the tangibility of what is being discussed. For example, you access a website, implying a non-physical, interactive action. In contrast, obtaining a book suggests a physical act of acquiring a tangible object, reflecting a certain permanence and physicality.
In the realm of resources and opportunities, access might involve being able to utilize or take advantage of them without suggesting ownership. In a parallel context, obtain might be used to indicate the securement of a particular opportunity or resource, signaling a certain surety and possession, distinct from the mere ability to use or interact.
To enter or make use of.
To get or take possession of.
May not imply control or ownership.
Implies control or ownership.
Can refer to tangible and intangible.
Often refers to tangible items.
Can interact or view.
Gaining possession or copies.
Use in Technology
Interacting or utilizing digitally.
Acquiring or downloading data.
Access and Obtain Definitions
The ability to approach or enter a place.
The staff has access to the storage room.
To achieve or earn something.
Through hard work, he obtained his degree.
The opportunity to utilize or benefit from something.
The program provides students access to scholarships.
To come into possession of something.
She was able to obtain the documents needed.
To make a connection with, especially digitally.
I cannot access the website due to server issues.
To be prevalent, valid, or accepted.
These conditions no longer obtain in the modern era.
A means of approaching, entering, exiting, communicating with, or making use of
A store with easy access.
To succeed in gaining something, often with effort.
He managed to obtain information from the closed files.
The ability or right to approach, enter, exit, communicate with, or make use of
Has access to the restricted area.
Has access to classified material.
To succeed in gaining possession of as the result of planning or endeavor; acquire.
To be in existence, in effect, or customary
"standards, proprieties that no longer obtain" (Meg Greenfield).
An increase by addition.
(Archaic) To succeed.
An outburst or onset
An access of rage.
(transitive) To get hold of; to gain possession of, to procure; to acquire, in any way.
To obtain access to, especially by computer
Used a browser to access a website.
Accessed her bank account online.
To secure (that) a specific objective or state of affairs be reached.
(uncountable) A way or means of approaching or entering; an entrance; a passage.
To prevail, be victorious; to succeed.
(uncountable) The act of approaching or entering; an advance.
To hold; to keep, possess or occupy.
(uncountable) The right or ability of approaching or entering; admittance; admission; accessibility.
To exist or be the case; to hold true, be in force.
(uncountable) The quality of being easy to approach or enter.
To hold; to keep; to possess.
His mother, then, is mortal, but his SireHe who obtains the monarchy of heaven.
(uncountable) Admission to sexual intercourse.
To get hold of by effort; to gain possession of; to procure; to acquire, in any way.
Some pray for riches; riches they obtain.
By guileful fair words peace may be obtained.
It may be that I may obtain children by her.
An increase by addition; accession
An access of territory
To gain or have a firm footing; to be recognized or established; to become prevalent or general; to prevail; as, the custom obtains of going to the seashore in summer.
Sobriety hath by use obtained to signify temperance in drinking.
The Theodosian code, several hundred years after Justinian's time, did obtain in the western parts of Europe.
(countable) An onset, attack, or fit of disease; an ague fit.
To prevail; to succeed.
So run that ye may obtain.
There is due from the judge to the advocate, some commendation, where causes are fair pleaded; especially towards the side which obtaineth not.
(countable) An outburst of an emotion; a paroxysm; a fit of passion.
Come into possession of;
How did you obtain the visa?
The right of a noncustodial parent to visit their child.
Receive a specified treatment (abstract);
These aspects of civilization do not find expression or receive an interpretation
His movie received a good review
I got nothing but trouble for my good intentions
The process of locating data in memory.
Be valid, applicable, or true;
This theory still holds
Connection to or communication with a computer program or to the Internet.
To cause something to be under control.
The ruler obtained power through strategic alliances.
(transitive) To gain or obtain access to.
To have access to (data).
I can't access most of the data on the computer without a password.
A coming to, or near approach; admittance; admission; accessibility; as, to gain access to a prince.
I did repel his letters, and deniedHis access to me.
The means, place, or way by which a thing may be approached; passage way; as, the access is by a neck of land.
Admission to sexual intercourse.
During coverture, access of the husband shall be presumed, unless the contrary be shown.
Increase by something added; addition; as, an access of territory. [In this sense accession is more generally used.]
I, from the influence of thy looks, receiveAccess in every virtue.
An onset, attack, or fit of disease.
The first access looked like an apoplexy.
A paroxysm; a fit of passion; an outburst; as, an access of fury.
The right to enter
The right to obtain or make use of or take advantage of something (as services or membership)
A way of entering or leaving;
He took a wrong turn on the access to the bridge
(computer science) the operation of reading or writing stored information
The act of approaching or entering;
He gained access to the building
Obtain or retrieve from a storage device; as of information on a computer
Reach or gain access to;
How does one access the attic in this house?
I cannot get to the T.V. antenna, even if I climb on the roof
To retrieve or interact with digital data.
Only authorized personnel can access the data.
The right to approach, use, or communicate with.
Journalists should have access to public figures for interviews.
Can "access" refer to digital interactions?
Yes, you can "access" websites, databases, and other digital platforms.
Can "access" imply a privilege?
Yes, having "access" to certain resources or spaces can be seen as a privilege or advantage.
What does "access" primarily mean?
"Access" typically refers to the ability or right to use, enter, or approach something.
Can "access" be used as a noun?
Yes, "access" can be a noun, e.g., "He has access to the database."
Is "access" only related to physical and digital spaces?
No, "access" can also refer to the ability to use or benefit from something, like resources.
Can "access" refer to gaining insights or information?
Yes, "access" can mean gaining the means to understand or learn about something.
Is "access" the same as "accessibility"?
No, while "access" is the ability to approach/use, "accessibility" relates to how easy it is to do so.
Does "access" imply ownership?
No, "access" does not imply ownership, just the ability to use or approach something.
What does it mean to "obtain" something?
To "obtain" means to get or take possession of something.
Can "obtain" refer to intangible things?
Yes, you can "obtain" physical items, as well as abstract things like degrees or skills.
Does "obtain" indicate a permanent acquisition?
No, "obtain" doesn’t indicate the duration of possession. It can be temporary or permanent.
Can everyone "access" something that is accessible?
Not necessarily. Even if something is accessible (can be accessed), specific permissions might restrict who can access it.
Is "obtaining" always a physical act?
No, "obtaining" can be both physical and non-physical, like acquiring knowledge or skills.
Does "obtain" always imply effort?
Often, but not always. The effort implied by "obtain" can range from minimal to significant.
Is "obtain" synonymous with "get"?
Somewhat, but "obtain" often implies a conscious effort to acquire something, while "get" can be more casual.
Does "obtain" imply legality?
Not necessarily. While "obtain" typically assumes lawful acquisition, it can be used in contexts of unlawful possession.
Can "obtain" refer to future acquisitions?
Yes, "obtain" can refer to future acquisitions, e.g., "She will obtain her degree next year."
Can "obtain" be used interchangeably with "attain"?
Not always. While similar, "attain" often refers to achieving through effort, often used with non-physical acquisitions like goals or states of being, while "obtain" may not imply a strenuous effort and often relates to acquiring tangible items.
Is "access" always legal?
No, one may "access" something in unauthorized or illegal ways, such as hacking.
Can "obtain" be used in various contexts?
Yes, "obtain" is versatile and can be used in numerous contexts, from casual to formal.
Written bySawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited byHuma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.