experiment

noun
ex·​per·​i·​ment | \ ik-ˈsper-ə-mənt How to pronounce experiment (audio) also -ˈspir- How to pronounce experiment (audio) \

Definition of experiment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : test, trial make another experiment of his suspicion— William Shakespeare
b : a tentative procedure or policy
c : an operation or procedure carried out under controlled conditions in order to discover an unknown effect or law, to test or establish a hypothesis, or to illustrate a known law
2 obsolete : experience
3 : the process of testing : experimentation

experiment

verb
ex·​per·​i·​ment | \ ik-ˈsper-ə-ˌment also -ˈspir How to pronounce experiment (audio) \
experimented; experimenting; experiments

Definition of experiment (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to carry out experiments : try out a new procedure, idea, or activity

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from experiment

Verb

experimentation \ ik-​ˌsper-​ə-​mən-​ˈtā-​shən How to pronounce experimentation (audio) , -​ˌmen-​ also  -​ˌspir-​ \ noun
experimenter \ ik-​ˈsper-​ə-​ˌmen-​tər How to pronounce experimenter (audio) also  -​ˈspir-​ \ noun

Synonyms for experiment

Synonyms: Noun

essay, experimentation, test, trial

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of experiment in a Sentence

Noun

Students will carry out simple laboratory experiments. They did some experiments with magnets. These theories have not yet been confirmed by experiment. an experiment in living more frugally the city's experiment with a longer school year
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In one ongoing experiment that began in 1959, researchers in Siberia led by the late Dmitry Belyaev bred only the most docile silver foxes (a variant of standard red foxes, not George Clooney and his ilk). Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Why Are Some Animals Impossible To Domesticate?," 13 Mar. 2019 That’s one hell of a shakeup—though just like with The Division 2, time will tell if this is a one-off experiment or a new expectation for Deep Silver’s games. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Metro Exodus is skipping Steam for the Epic Games Store, and passing the savings on to you," 28 Jan. 2019 Canadarm 2, alongside its robotic hand known as Dextre, has helped astronauts during spacewalks, deployed tiny CubeSats, performs experiments and other essential tasks. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Canada Offers Robot Arm for NASA's 'Lunar Gateway' Program," 1 Mar. 2019 The medicalization of treatment often makes patients feel like lab experiments. Pamela Tsigdinos, Marie Claire, "The Wild World of IVF, Explained," 1 Oct. 2018 Other stocks would be untouched, and the SEC would monitor trading activity to see how the experiment played out. Dave Michaels, WSJ, "Big Three Stock Exchanges Sue SEC Over Trading-Fee Plan," 15 Feb. 2019 That’s a bit odd, but not enough to put me off the experiment. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Super Meat Boy for free, Sega teases a Catherine port," 4 Jan. 2019 One famous experiment conducted by the economist Drazen Prelec involved a silent auction for tickets to sold-out NBA games. Town & Country, "Is This the End of Cash?," 28 Jan. 2019 While no detonation happened, it was later revealed that the site was radioactively contaminated by another secret experiment in which the government buried several thousand pounds of radioactive soil in the same area without telling nearby people. Maka Monture, Teen Vogue, "10 Films That Show How the U.S. Has Mistreated Native Americans and Alaska Natives," 22 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Trump has already experimented with using his ability to disappear any federal crimes, pardoning the racist human-rights abuser and Trump ally Joe Arpaio. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Is Probing the Constitution for Weaknesses, and Finding Them," 1 June 2018 Self had also experimented with four guards in the tiniest of samples. Jesse Newell, kansascity, "How KU's offense, in two years, became more like Villanova's | The Kansas City Star," 30 Mar. 2018 Getty Images This is isn't the first time Hailey has experimented with pink, either. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Say Hello to Hailey Bieber's New Bubblegum Pink Bob," 14 Jan. 2019 Over the years, few other directors have experimented with faster frame rates. Eleanor Hildebrandt, Popular Mechanics, "The True Story of the Lost Sci-Fi Movie "Brainstorm," Natalie Wood’s Last Film," 21 Dec. 2018 Yeah, really! Burger King has formerly experimented with all kinds of chicken products, including spicy nuggets and world-famous chicken fries, but the new tenders are somehow uncharted territory. Taylor Rock, Fox News, "Burger King debuts crispy chicken tenders," 22 Sep. 2018 For centuries, incarcerated people have been experimented on and demonized; in America, a disproportionate number of them are people of color. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "Inside a Radical Experiment to Transform the Lives of Incarcerated Women," 22 Aug. 2018 With Flacco still the starter and Jackson in line to be the primary backup, Urban has experimented with using both on the field at the same time, with Jackson in a role that might resemble a receiver. Katherine Fominykh, baltimoresun.com, "After mentoring Michael Vick, new Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban getting Lamar Jackson up to speed," 13 July 2018 In an effort to reduce the social pressure to be on call all the time, some companies, including HubSpot, a marketing software company, and Simpliflying, an airline marketing firm, have experimented with requiring workers to take vacation. Livia Gershon, Longreads, "Clocking Out," 11 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of experiment

Noun

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

Verb

1787, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for experiment

Noun

Middle English, "testing, proof, remedy," borrowed from Anglo-French esperiment, borrowed from Latin experīmentum "testing, experience, proof," from experīrī "to put to the test, attempt, have experience of, undergo" + -mentum -ment — more at experience entry 1

Verb

verbal derivative of experiment entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about experiment

Share experiment

Statistics for experiment

Last Updated

22 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for experiment

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for experiment

experiment

noun

English Language Learners Definition of experiment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a scientific test in which you perform a series of actions and carefully observe their effects in order to learn about something
: something that is done as a test : something that you do to see how well or how badly it works

experiment

verb

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

: to do a scientific test in which you perform a series of actions and carefully observe their effects
: to try a new activity or a new way of doing or thinking about something

experiment

noun
ex·​per·​i·​ment | \ ik-ˈsper-ə-mənt How to pronounce experiment (audio) \

Kids Definition of experiment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a trial or test made to find out about something

experiment

verb
ex·​per·​i·​ment | \ ik-ˈsper-ə-ˌment How to pronounce experiment (audio) \
experimented; experimenting

Kids Definition of experiment (Entry 2 of 2)

: to try or test a new way, idea, or activity : to make experiments

experiment

noun
ex·​per·​i·​ment | \ ik-ˈsper-ə-mənt also -ˈspir-\

Medical Definition of experiment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a procedure carried out under controlled conditions in order to discover an unknown effect or law, to test or establish a hypothesis, or to illustrate a known law
2 : the process of testing : experimentation

experiment

intransitive verb
ex·​per·​i·​ment | \ -ˌment How to pronounce experiment (audio) \

Medical Definition of experiment (Entry 2 of 2)

: to carry out experiments

Other Words from experiment

experimentation \ ik-​ˌsper-​ə-​mən-​ˈtā-​shən, -​ˌmen-​ also -​ˌspir-​ \ noun
experimenter \ -​ˈsper-​ə-​ˌment-​ər also -​ˈspir-​ \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on experiment

What made you want to look up experiment? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!