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 Many of us who are not white have experiences of being under threat. Sarah Parvini, Los Angeles Times, "Family separation and refugee cap reinvigorate Jews’ activist roots: ‘We’ve always been immigrants’," 17 Sep. 2019 Crosby said Pendergrass has the experience and credentials to expand API’s efforts to communicate and promote what the organization says are its conservative values. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Alabama Policy Institute hires former Ivey communications director," 16 Sep. 2019 Thirty-one in perspective Hoban coach Tim Tyrrell likened his team in the preseason to his 2016 squad, which had experience and talent at the offensive skill positions to match a deep defense. Matt Goul, cleveland.com, "Riverside meets Lima halfway in classy move: HS football quick hits," 16 Sep. 2019 Since most local governments do not have experience with large-scale energy issues, many CCAs hire outside groups to perform the complex scheduling, contracting and marketing transactions needed. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Community choice energy across San Diego on the cusp of becoming reality," 16 Sep. 2019 Fellow flier Sara Richart, 38, had a similar experience. J.d. Morris, SFChronicle.com, "SFO construction: How airport performed and what you need to know now," 15 Sep. 2019 Vallejo has a different set of challenges, but some of the challenges that Vallejo will have for a police chief, Shawny has experience. Richard Freedman, The Mercury News, "San Jose deputy police chief to head the Vallejo Police Department," 14 Sep. 2019 Someone who vapes 100 a day is probably going to have a different experience than someone who does it 10 times a day. Aj Willingham, CNN, "Untangling the myths and mysteries of the vaping phenomenon," 13 Sep. 2019 But women CEOs were much more likely to have had previous board experience. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "New research shows the career path to CEO is different for women," 12 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Aria Eubank enters Midway into a contest to bring celebrity travel guru Sterling Masters to town to experience Christmas in Midway. Rebecca Angel Baer, Southern Living, "Kellie Pickler Gives Us the Inside Scoop on Her New Hallmark Movie, The Mistletoe Secret," 9 Nov. 2019 However, certain circumstances make people more likely to experience the side effect, such as being younger than 60 at the time of cataract surgery or having already had glaucoma or retina surgery. Harvard Health Letter, chicagotribune.com, "Are you at risk for a secondary cataract?," 7 Nov. 2019 Virginians are about to experience life under a distant tycoon’s thumb. Washington Post, "In Virginia, newly empowered Democrats test the blue depths," 7 Nov. 2019 Those who reported issues with staying focused during the day due to poor sleep were 13% more likely to experience heart issues, the study found. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Insomnia in adults linked to heart attack and stroke," 6 Nov. 2019 Looney recently met with a team of specialists about a neuropathic condition that has caused him to experience right hamstring tightness. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Kevon Looney to miss at least 2 more weeks with neuropathic condition," 6 Nov. 2019 The undercover detectives who investigate these crimes have to see things that nobody should have to see, and no child should have to experience. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, "2 Disney employees, former assistant principal among 17 netted in child porn sting," 5 Nov. 2019 For more tips on how to experience the food scene in Accra, check out Cherae’s guide, 72 Hours of Accra in My Belly. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "Cherae Robinson of Tastemakers Africa Shows You How To Explore The Flavors Of Ghana," 5 Nov. 2019 The laser driver and diodes are intended for lab use, a condition that requires an attacker to experience with lasers to successfully assemble and test the setups. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Researchers hack Siri, Alexa, and Google Home by shining lasers at them," 4 Nov. 2019

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

27 Oct 2019

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
How to pronounce experience (audio)

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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Comments on experience

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