experience

noun
ex·​pe·​ri·​ence | \ ik-ˈspir-ē-ən(t)s How to pronounce experience (audio) \

Definition of experience

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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
2a : 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 : something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through
4a : 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
5 : the act or process of directly perceiving events or reality

experience

verb
experienced; experiencing

Definition of experience (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to have experience of : undergo experienced severe hardships as a child
2 : to learn by experience (see experience entry 1) I have experienced that a landscape and the sky unfold the deepest beauty— Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Synonyms & Antonyms for experience

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of experience in a Sentence

Noun 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 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 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 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 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 The best way to learn is by experience. We need someone with experience. She gained a lot of experience at that job. I know that from personal experience. She has five years' experience as a computer programmer. He wrote about his experiences as a pilot. That experience is one I'd rather forget! She had a frightening experience. Verb 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 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 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 That was one of the worst days I've ever experienced. The patient has been experiencing pain in her left shoulder.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At the same time, Durant brings experience and remains a truly elite NBA talent, one who could conceivably lead the Nets to multiple NBA titles, with or without his star wingmen Harden and Irving. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4 June 2021 Through this experience, the participants learn about the philanthropic process and responding to community needs. cleveland, 4 June 2021 There is some evidence that prior experience with young children gives women — and men — more confidence in their parenting. Washington Post, 4 June 2021 So every song relates to a specific moment, person, or experience from my past. Katie Bain, Billboard, 4 June 2021 And since Apple’s Peloton competitor, Fitness+, is still relatively new and requires an Apple Watch, expect to see new features added to the whole Fitness+ experience too. Lauren Goode, Wired, 4 June 2021 By the time he was drafted and assigned to serve as an official historian for the U.S. Army, Forrest Pogue was already a college professor—an experience whose influence is ever present in his own richly detailed war diaries. Peter Caddick-adams, WSJ, 4 June 2021 The group's long experience with racial justice helped attract major grants to the organization in 2020. Star Tribune, 4 June 2021 These liaisons were selected based on their personal background, lived experienced or academic experience. Paige Fry, chicagotribune.com, 4 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Rising violence against Jews in the U.K., Germany and France has been winning Herzl new converts, but so far the American Jewish community has yet to experience anything akin to the murderous hatred increasingly prevalent in Europe. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, 24 May 2021 Earlier this month, the National Weather Service in California released an update stating that northeast California and northwest Nevada will likely experience the worst second sequential year of drought in more than 30 years. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 17 May 2021 Especially concerning are densely populated African countries, many of which have yet to experience large outbreaks. Billy Perrigo, Time, 12 May 2021 The higher the number, the more likely that your Wi-Fi call will experience things like dropouts, echoes and poor voice quality, especially for the person on the other end. Ken Colburn, The Arizona Republic, 10 May 2021 What Hall, now 29, has yet to experience here is the beat of playoff hockey that finally is about to start pulsating again on Causeway Street. BostonGlobe.com, 7 May 2021 Here were enslaved people who dreamed and organized and marched so that their children might experience a better life. Anya Groner, The Atlantic, 7 May 2021 Hightower says their main concern now is that future witnesses don't have to experience what happened to Doe. Andy Rose And Amanda Watts, CNN, 5 May 2021 The organization predicts that about 21.3% of Black Americans, or 1 in 5, may experience food insecurity in 2021, compared to 11% of White individuals, or 1 in 9. Lucas Manfredi, Fox News, 4 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'experience.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of experience

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1580, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for experience

Noun

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin experientia "testing of possibilities, participation in events, skill gained by practice," noun derivative of experient-, experiens, present participle of experīrī "to put to the test, attempt, have experience of, undergo," from ex- ex- entry 1 + -perīrī, from a presumed verbal base *per- "test, risk," perhaps going back to Indo-European *pr̥h3-i-

Note: See note at peril entry 1.

Verb

verbal derivative of experience entry 1

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Learn More About experience

Time Traveler for experience

Time Traveler

The first known use of experience was in the 14th century

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Statistics for experience

Last Updated

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Experience.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/experience. Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for experience

experience

noun

English Language Learners Definition of experience

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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)

experience

verb

English Language Learners Definition of experience (Entry 2 of 2)

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

experience

noun
ex·​pe·​ri·​ence | \ ik-ˈspir-ē-əns How to pronounce experience (audio) \

Kids Definition of experience

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the process of living through an event or events You learn by experience.
2 : the skill or knowledge gained by actually doing a thing The job requires someone with experience.
3 : something that someone has actually done or lived through She told us about her experience flying a plane.

experience

verb
experienced; experiencing

Kids Definition of experience (Entry 2 of 2)

: to undergo or live through : have experience of

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