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

We were introduced to Kali, another child experimented on at the Hawkins Lab, this season on Stranger Things. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "'Stranger Things' Season 3: Everything We Know So Far," 10 Dec. 2018 That said, as with any production that’s experimenting and pushing boundaries, some moments that work better than others. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Chained mixes virtual reality and live actors to tell a dark Christmas tale," 5 Dec. 2018 Although her mother taught her to knit with more traditional needles (the average length is around 14 inches), Bond liked experimenting with broom handles. Rose Minutaglio, Country Living, "This Art Student Broke the Guinness World Record for Largest Knitting Needles," 20 Nov. 2018 Their beauty team experimented with shapes, shades, and finishes of eye shadow, showing us new ways to work our go-to palettes this fall. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Monsta X's 9 Most Daring Eye Makeup Looks From the "Shoot Out" Music Video," 22 Oct. 2018 Up through the 1980s, researchers carried out the majority of CR experiments only on yeast, flies, mice and rats. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "Not So Fast," 24 Sep. 2018 Don't be afraid of experimenting with color—and loads of it. 2. Amy Preiser, House Beautiful, "Confession: The Simpsons Taught Me Some Seriously Awesome Decorating Lessons," 13 Sep. 2018 Having been told by the coroner that Natalie’s teeth were removed with pliers, Willis bought himself a pig’s head and experimented with pulling out its teeth, to see how much strength such a thing would take. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sharp Objects Episode 2 Recap: Appearances Are Everything," 16 July 2018 Ganzler said the company is bringing in paper straws and experimenting with ones made from hay and bamboo. NBC News, "After Starbucks, which company will next ban plastic straws?," 9 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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