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noun ex·pe·ri·ence \ik-ˈspir-ē-ən(t)s\

Simple Definition of experience

  • : the process of doing and seeing things and of having things happen to you

  • : skill or knowledge that you get by doing something

  • : the length of time that you have spent doing something (such as a particular job)

Full Definition of experience

  1. 1 a :  direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge b :  the fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation

  2. 2 a :  practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in events or in a particular activity b :  the length of such participation <has 10 years' experience in the job>

  3. 3 a :  the conscious events that make up an individual life b :  the events that make up the conscious past of a community or nation or humankind generally

  4. 4 :  something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through

  5. 5 :  the act or process of directly perceiving events or reality

Examples of experience

  1. Human experience is the ultimate source and justification for all knowledge. Experience itself has accumulated in human memory and culture, gradually producing the methods of intelligence called “reason” and “science.” —John Shook, Free Inquiry, April/May 2008

  2. Almost as charismatic as the ivory-bill, the California condor passed through a near-death experience and is today regaining a tentative foothold in parts of its erstwhile range. —John Terborgh, New York Review of Books, 26 Apr. 2007

  3. Many of his students have plenty of life experience but … never mastered the academic stuff at school. —Daryl Crimp, New Zealand Geographic, March/April 2007

  4. In the energetic, speculative, socially mobile urban society of the early 18th century, maternal impression, the idea that a child's appearance was directed by the mother's experiences, found advocates among London physicians as easily as it did among myth-fed country fold. —Miranda Seymour, New York Times Book Review, 17 June 2007

  5. Literary London was not merely a great gathering of experiences for [Samuel] Johnson, but a veritable public stew of good words. —Andrew O'Hagan, New York Review, 27 Apr. 2006

  6. The best way to learn is by experience.

  7. We need someone with experience.

  8. She gained a lot of experience at that job.

  9. I know that from personal experience.

  10. She has five years' experience as a computer programmer.

  11. He wrote about his experiences as a pilot.

  12. That experience is one I'd rather forget!

  13. She had a frightening experience.

Origin of experience

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin experientia act of trying, from experient-, experiens, present participle of experiri to try, from ex- + -periri (akin to periculum attempt) — more at fear

First Known Use: 14th century



verb ex·pe·ri·ence \ik-ˈspir-ē-ən(t)s\

Simple Definition of experience

  • : to do or see (something) or have (something) happen to you : to feel or be affected by (something)

Full Definition of experience


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to learn by experience (see 1experience) <I have experienced that a landscape and the sky unfold the deepest beauty — Nathaniel Hawthorne>

  3. 2 :  to have experience of :  undergo <experienced severe hardships as a child>

Examples of experience

  1. Performing a risk-reward analysis can often clarify decisions. If the risk of a failed marriage is that you may have to experience heartache and an expensive divorce, you'd better think carefully. If the risk of a bad ski run is that you'll die, you'd better think even more carefully about what you'll gain by taking that risk. —Laurence Gonzales, National Geographic Adventure, March 2008

  2. Of course, many reporters do their best to be accurate, but they must conform to the conventions of their craft, and there is always slippage between their choice of words and the nature of an event as experienced or perceived by others. —Robert Darnton, New York Review of Books, 12 June 2008

  3. I spent 20-some years as a foreign correspondent and experienced my share of harrowing travel. … And unlike the brave foreign correspondents that you see on TV or read about … , I was scared silly. —P. J. O'Rourke, Forbes Life, June 2008

  4. That was one of the worst days I've ever experienced.

  5. The patient has been experiencing pain in her left shoulder.

Origin of experience

(see 1experience)

First Known Use: 1580

EXPERIENCE Defined for Kids



noun ex·pe·ri·ence \ik-ˈspir-ē-əns\

Definition of experience

  1. 1 :  the process of living through an event or events <You learn by experience.>

  2. 2 :  the skill or knowledge gained by actually doing a thing <The job requires someone with experience.>

  3. 3 :  something that someone has actually done or lived through <She told us about her experience flying a plane.>



verb ex·pe·ri·ence

Definition of experience


  1. :  to undergo or live through :  have experience of

Seen and Heard

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February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

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