experiment

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

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 \
experimented; experimenting; experiments

Definition of experiment (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

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

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Other Words from experiment

Verb

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

Synonyms for experiment

Synonyms: Noun

essay, experimentation, test, trial

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

New York City now plays a central role in the economic experiment of the gig economy. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "New York City passes nation’s first minimum pay rate for Uber and Lyft drivers," 5 Dec. 2018 This actually happened in an experiment using a virus. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "Legal vs. Illegal Gene Editing: Here's What's Banned, and Why," 4 Dec. 2018 Many more starved to death in the Khmer Rouge’s radical experiment to reshape Cambodia, which exiled much of the middle class to the countryside. James Hookway, WSJ, "U.N. Tribunal for First Time Finds Former Khmer Rouge Leaders Guilty of Genocide," 16 Nov. 2018 Nearly all the juvenile roaches in the experiments failed in their defense and wound up being turned into zombie slaves. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Cockroaches deliver karate kicks to avoid being turned into “zombies”," 3 Nov. 2018 Ultimately, the prospects of the Remain in Mexico policy might not be apparent until the policy has already been put in place — and in the meantime, asylum-seekers will be the subjects of a binational experiment. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trump’s reportedly cutting a deal to force asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico," 24 Nov. 2018 After the first few hours in Appalachia, Fallout 76 feels less like a complete Fallout game and more like a social experiment—the type Vault-Tec might conduct in one of its vaults, in fact. Sarah Leboeuf, Ars Technica, "Fallout 76 is online and lonelier than ever," 15 Nov. 2018 During a proof-0f-concept experiment, one drone wrapped itself around a handle and another pulled on the door. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Inspired by Wasps, This Micro-Drone Lifts 40 Times its Weight," 25 Oct. 2018 All of that is great—in theory—but who wants to turn themselves into a science experiment in the name of skin-care? Talia Abbas, SELF, "How to Pick the Right Skin-Care Acid for Your Concerns," 9 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Microsoft has now been experimenting with further distancing Cortana from the Windows 10 search experience, and the 19H1 update due early next year will include some changes. Tom Warren, The Verge, "Microsoft is now selling Amazon’s Echo devices," 17 Nov. 2018 Microsoft has been experimenting with underwater servers for some time. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Satya Nadella: The cloud is going to move underwater," 1 Nov. 2018 Since then, Stenberg has been experimenting with color. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "15 Celebrities Who Prove a Dye Job Makes a Huge Difference," 18 Oct. 2018 Speaking of, the singer has recently been experimenting with different hairstyles: In the course of the past few months, she's shown off a low ponytail, a lavender dye job, and flowing blond hair. Zoe Weiner, Glamour, "Ariana Grande Hilariously Trolled Kim Kardashian and North West for Their Very Familiar-Looking Ponytails," 30 Sep. 2018 The military has been experimenting with 3D printing in various forms for years, but housing is an immediate and practical application. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Marines 3D printed an entire concrete barrack in less than two days," 19 Sep. 2018 While your friends are off experimenting with the Whole30 plan or dabbling in the keto diet, here’s a refreshing bit of pro-carb news: Eating pasta has been linked with losing weight in a new study. Sarah Klein, Health.com, "Pasta Was Linked to Weight Loss in a New Study–and We Know What We’re Having for Dinner Tonight," 3 Apr. 2018 Milk Mantra is experimenting with a home-delivery service—this time with an online subscription plan for customers who want regular deliveries of its products. Bill Spindle, WSJ, "A Milk Startup Takes On 300 Million Cows," 7 July 2018 In its efforts to drive down the cost of education, SNHU is experimenting with the use of artificial intelligence to conduct initial reviews of student work. Deirdre Fernandes, BostonGlobe.com, "An education in hope," 7 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.

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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

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Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for experiment

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

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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 \

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 \
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 \

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

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