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

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

One brand might boast a curved design to make the experience of peeing on a stick slightly more ergonomic and less awkward. Shelby Pope, Allure, "Are Cheap Home Pregnancy Tests Just as Accurate as the Expensive Ones?," 12 Mar. 2019 So watching Hulu's PEN15, a coming-of-age comedy following two seventh grade girls in the year 2000, was a mixed experience: The rush of seeing the early aughts return, the uncomfortable twinges from remembering the growing pains of those years. Bonnie Stiernberg, Glamour, "I Wish Every Teen Girl Would Watch Hulu's PEN15," 10 Mar. 2019 Newsletter Sign-up Navigating the internet can be a frustrating experience for the visually impaired. Sara Randazzo, WSJ, "Lawsuits Surge Over Websites’ Access for the Blind," 17 Feb. 2019 And the experience of getting to learn about McLauchlin’s fascinating life story and work are nothing short of soul-elevating. Jaimie Potters, ELLE Decor, "A Design Lover's Guide to Visiting San Miguel de Allende," 7 Jan. 2019 So, in both research and in my clinical experience: No, drinking meals versus eating them does not lead to weight loss. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "Celery Juice "Benefits" Are Total B.S., According to Nutrition Science," 16 Jan. 2019 In his experience, that isn't always the case with Airbnb, especially when working through a cancellation and refund with customer service. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Airbnb’s ‘Superguest’ Program: The Benefits We Want to See," 18 Dec. 2018 Best known for co-creating The View, Bill has more than two decades of experience in the industry. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "All the Details About Tamron Hall's New Show You Need to Know," 22 Jan. 2019 The worldliness is, of course, a matter of historical fact, a consequence of experience. Steve King, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why We Keep Going Back to Amsterdam," 24 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

After experiencing damage during a winter storm, the trams are temporarily closed but will begin operating again on April 1st. Charlotte Chilton, Town & Country, "What to Do on Your Next Trip to Palm Springs," 5 Mar. 2019 But as Jen experienced in this most recent movie, spending a lot of time outside can make the long weeks filming even more taxing. Mackenzie Dunn, Woman's Day, "'Winter Love Story' Actress Jen Lilley Reveals 6 Hallmark Movie Secrets," 18 Jan. 2019 Seattle has been experiencing a wintry mix for several days, which has made this month the snowiest February the city has seen in 75 years, according to the National Weather Service. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Brace Yourselves: The Entire Country Will be Hit by a Brutal Winter Storm This Week," 12 Feb. 2019 One generation’s eyesore, though, is another’s treat, and now brutalism is experiencing a resurgence. Lauren Ho, Condé Nast Traveler, "Architectural Reboot: The Return of Brutalism," 20 Dec. 2018 Nevertheless, Microsoft appears to be developing a stripped-down Windows for those who have never experienced the real thing. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Do we need another stripped-down version of Windows? Microsoft apparently thinks so," 3 Dec. 2018 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

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

17 Mar 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 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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