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

And while the shows deliver the experience, the salon visit delivers the details. Jordan Roth, Vogue, "Jordan Roth: A Man’s View on the Haute Couture," 28 Jan. 2019 Luckily, the experienced pilots and crew managed to get all passengers to Hawaii, despite the hair-raising experience. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "8 Emergency Landings That Rival the 'Miracle on the Hudson'," 15 Jan. 2019 Follow these pointers for the best experience: Prioritize form over everything. SELF, "Your Guide to Navigating the Free Weights at the Gym," 12 Jan. 2019 Haptic feedback adds a lot to the gaming experience when done right, in ways both large and small. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Razer HyperSense's vision for haptic-filled PC gaming shakes up the future of peripherals," 10 Jan. 2019 The whole experience ended up being a learning moment, Tori said. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Tori Roloff Shares Details About Her Son Jackson's Scary Doctor Visit," 9 Jan. 2019 One of Facebook’s biggest product focuses over the past 18 months has been around private groups, which essentially recreate the Facebook experience but with a smaller group of people. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Facebook needs a ‘reset’ button for your friend list," 27 Dec. 2018 Instagram has quietly started testing a horizontal feed for some users, a huge sideways shift from the vertically-scrolling user experience that’s been the norm since the app launched. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Instagram is testing a new horizontal feed," 27 Dec. 2018 The Nancy Sinatra Boots Were Made for Walkin’ Award Karrie Jacobs traveled to LaGuardia airport on foot, and wrote about the experience. Mark Lamster, Curbed, "2018 in architecture: The good, the bad, and the urbanism," 27 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The keto flu is host of flu-like symptoms such as aches, cramping, exhaustion, diarrhea, constipation, and general weakness experienced during the first four days the keto diet. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "Keto Diet Pills and Supplements May Hurt Your Health and Waste Your Money," 16 Jan. 2019 Veganism, being so largely Eurocentric and animal-centered, seems to disregard advocacy for the trauma and injustices experienced by folks of color. Amy Quichiz, SELF, "10 Vegans of Color on What Being Vegan Means to Them," 6 Jan. 2019 Upstate South Carolina and the northeastern corner of Georgia could also experience a major snowfall, too. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "AccuWeather Predicts a Brutal Winter Storm Is Set to Hit the South This Weekend," 6 Dec. 2018 Although the Times investigation doesn’t include naval accidents at sea, the U.S. Navy also experienced a rash of accidents unprecedented in modern times. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "What's Behind the Stark Rise in U.S. Military Accidents?," 6 Dec. 2018 Also possible are stomach pain and nausea, as Peggy had experienced, and chest tightness and vertigo, Alana’s primary symptoms. Tony Dajer, Discover Magazine, "Vertigo, Panic and Trouble Breathing: What's Going On Here?," 19 Oct. 2018 Despite being in the direct path of the storm, Wilmington Beach was spared much of the damage and flooding experienced by other North Carolina communities. Jonathan Serrie, Fox News, "Reporter's Notebook: Isolated by floodwaters, Fox News crew finds route out of Wilmington," 18 Sep. 2018 Williams' catsuit for the tournament, her first after giving birth to her daughter last year, had a specific purpose: It was engineered to prevent blood clots, which Williams had experienced during her pregnancy. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Serena Williams Has the Most Epic Response to the French Open's Catsuit Ban," 27 Aug. 2018 This problem is only being experienced by owners of the original Pixels; the Pixel 2 is charging as expected. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Google says a fix is coming for fast-charging problems with original Pixel and Pixel XL," 14 Aug. 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

3 Feb 2019

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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