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

The quality group agonizes while the quantity group experiments and gets better. Kate Bachelder Odell, WSJ, "‘Atomic Habits’ and ‘The Bullet Journal Method’ Review: New Year’s Baby Steps," 31 Dec. 2018 Once Dry January is over, check in with yourself to see how the experiment went and what that might mean for your drinking habits going forward. Korin Miller, SELF, "Dry January Can Be Amazing For Your Health, If Done The Right Way," 31 Dec. 2018 Republicans in the experiment actually grew more conservative over the course of the test. Julia Belluz, Vox, "7 bad science and health ideas that should die with 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 Steyn repeated the experiment at the Plague Research Laboratory in South Africa. Rob Dunn, Discover Magazine, "Our Attempts to Eradicate Insects are Just Making them Resistant to Pesticides," 16 Nov. 2018 Once the wildebeests were secured and their babies born, the experiment began in earnest. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "How Noisy Males Control the Gnu’s Cycle," 11 July 2018 The proliferation of similar experiments on farm animals in recent years supports those concerns. Lucy Craymer, WSJ, "Big Tongues and Extra Vertebrae: The Unintended Consequences of Animal Gene Editing," 14 Dec. 2018 But unlike Monday’s announcement, none of those experiments would alter DNA in a way that patients would pass to their own children. Malcolm Ritter, The Seattle Times, "Q&A on scientist’s bombshell claim of gene-edited babies," 28 Nov. 2018 The InSight lander will conduct two years of experiments on Martian atmosphere and terrain; here’s how NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory prepares for a mission to Mars. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Google spends $1 billion on a 52-acre office park in space-constrained Silicon Valley," 27 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Some groups are experimenting with loudspeakers and sound cannons to scare birds away from turbines, and others are reevaluating how turbines are placed to minimize bird casualties. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Turbines Kill So Many Birds They're Effectively an Apex Predator," 6 Nov. 2018 So a future note for people running beta versions of Android: don't take battery life or performance issues too seriously, you might just be being experimented on. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "“P is for Power”—Android engineers talk battery life improvements in Android P," 1 Aug. 2018 The plant staff are already experimenting with mixing groundwater reserves in with the river water to dilute the toxin levels. Molly Harbarger, OregonLive.com, "Salem water sees decrease in toxins, while Wilsonville sees increase," 1 June 2018 Home gardeners, too, are experimenting with coffee trees in frost-free gardens. Nan Sterman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Branching out with new crops," 31 May 2018 Designed for beginners to experienced artists, participants may freely experiment with the artist’s professional grade pastels. Robert Knox, BostonGlobe.com, "Floral art makes the books bloom in Norwell," 20 Apr. 2018 Project Chariot Project Chariot puts a spotlight on when the United States government wanted to experiment with nuclear testing in Alaska during the 1950s and'60s. Maka Monture, Teen Vogue, "10 Films That Show How the U.S. Has Mistreated Native Americans and Alaska Natives," 22 Nov. 2018 Known to experiment with daring hemlines, the designer was traveling to America on business, accompanied by her husband and maid, when the three boarded Titanic. Southern Living, "Get a Sneak Peek at Downton-Worthy Dresses from Titanic Pigeon Forge," 30 June 2018 One state has experimented with paying incentives to traditional birth attendants to bring pregnant women to formal health care settings. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "Nigeria has more HIV-infected babies than anywhere in the world. It’s a distinction no country wants," 12 June 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

11 Jan 2019

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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