experience

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

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

chops, expertise, know-how, moxie, proficiency, savvy, skills

Synonyms: Verb

endure, feel, have, know, pass, see, suffer, sustain, taste, undergo, witness

Antonyms: Noun

inexperience

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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

But the chief function of these devices is to provide a wide selection of apps, an intuitive user experience, and great-looking video. Chris Welch, The Verge, "The best streaming video player to buy right now," 30 Nov. 2018 The scenic, mile-long path promises a quintessential New England experience: waterfront mansions, craggy cliffs, lighthouses, and stunning beaches. Lindsay Silberman, Town & Country, "The Perfect Weekend in Ogunquit, Maine," 24 Oct. 2018 However, not every sound bath, nor every person's experience, is the same. Nicole Dellert, Allure, "I Tried a Sound Bath — Here's What This Meditative Practice Is Really Like," 24 Oct. 2018 Stewart, Friedman and their colleagues are in the research group of cosmologist Philip Lubin, a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who has a lot of space-laser experience. Mike Wall, Space.com, "Student Project Scans Sky for Alien Laser Beams," 29 Sep. 2018 The fans connected with and followed this band due to their music and experiencing that with the artists is what fills up these huge venues with performance and audience interaction heightening those experiences. Jeff Benjamin, Teen Vogue, "BTS's Movie "Burn the Stage" Shows the Group's Unwavering Dedication to Their Music," 20 Nov. 2018 Everyone’s grief is different—it’s as unique and individual as the losses we experience—but owning my grief, finally helped me find some relief for all my anxiety and sadness. Melissa Blake, Glamour, "To Cope with My Father's Suicide, I Had to Learn to Love My Grief," 17 Nov. 2018 Budd, whose wartime experience has soured him on government and politics, struggles to reconcile his duty to protect Montague with his disapproval of her political agenda. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Hit U.K. Show Bodyguard Is Now on Netflix," 26 Oct. 2018 Trigger Warning: This piece is one writer's experience with depression and ADHD and includes mentions of suicidal ideation. Kayleigh Roberts, Allure, "Why Women With ADHD Like Me Get Diagnosed So Late in Adulthood," 25 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Properties at high elevations have experienced rising values, while those at lower elevations have declined in value. Richard Florida, WIRED, "Climate Change Will Force the Poor From Their Homes," 13 July 2018 Seventy-nine percent of benzoyl peroxide users experienced redness, stinging, and dryness, versus 44 percent of tea tree oil users. Ashley Weatherford, The Cut, "A Guide to Megan Markle’s Favorite Anti-Acne Oil," 13 July 2018 Its trails are beautifully designed and marked, so almost everyone can easily experience it. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "10 Miles Of Trails Open 7 Days A Week, 52 Weeks A Year. Sherman's Deer Pond Farm Makes Its Debut," 13 July 2018 Such areas also experienced a surge in their share of Yelp reviews by visitors to New York, a measure that researchers said reconfirmed their employment findings. Tracy Jan, latimes.com, "Study suggests white neigborhoods see more economic benefits from Airbnb," 12 July 2018 The weather service also warned that DFW Airport could experience lightning and rain falling at roughly a half-inch per hour. Gordon Dickson, star-telegram, "Hail in July? Scattered heavy storms pack a punch across North Texas," 12 July 2018 About 13% of women experience depression during pregnancy. Andrea Petersen, WSJ, "Therapy for Pregnant Women With Anxiety Offers Alternative to Medication," 3 Nov. 2018 The best way to experience true terror this year is to hop on board a seriously frightening train ride. Megan Stein, Country Living, "This Haunted Halloween Train Ride Is the Best Way to Scare Yourself Silly," 23 Oct. 2018 These characters experience things the same way America does. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: ‘Will & Grace’ co-star Sean Hayes on Recode Decode," 22 Oct. 2018

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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Statistics for experience

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for experience

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

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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 \

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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Comments on experience

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