ex·​per·​i·​men·​tal | \ik-ˌsper-ə-ˈmen-tᵊl also -ˌspir- \

Definition of experimental 

1 : of, relating to, or based on experience or experiment

2a : serving the ends of or used as a means of experimentation an experimental school

b : relating to or having the characteristics of experiment : tentative still in the experimental stage

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Other Words from experimental

experimentally \ ik-​ˌsper-​ə-​ˈmen-​tᵊl-​ē also  -​ˌspir-​ \ adverb

Examples of experimental in a Sentence

The fuel is being used on an experimental basis. an experimental procedure for patients suffering from leukemia

Recent Examples on the Web

Sounds great, but the treatment is so experimental that pigment isn't yet formulated in the United States. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "What Is Semi-Permanent BB Cream, and Why Are People Getting It Microneedled Into Their Faces?," 9 Nov. 2018 The iPad, on the other hand, lets Apple be a little more experimental and open. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Adding USB-C to the iPad isn’t enough to fix Apple’s messy port strategy," 31 Oct. 2018 The researchers said the system is experimental and still in early testing. Daniela Hernandez, WSJ, "Brain Scans Can Detect Who Has Better Skills," 3 Oct. 2018 This Celebrity Series presentation might be a bit too experimental for younger viewers, but teens may be intrigued by the combination of virtuosic dance and the cutting-edge technology behind it. Karen Campbell, BostonGlobe.com, "Family Entertainment: Dance picks," 12 Apr. 2018 Judy Perkins, whose case made headlines earlier this month when an experimental treatment saved her, pointed out that most of the patients who tried the same treatment died. Maggie Fox /, NBC News, "Is chemo obsolete? Not by a long shot, cancer experts say," 24 June 2018 For now, phage therapy remains an experimental treatment. Alexandra Sifferlin, Time, "Scientists Are Using a New Weapon to Fight Drug-Resistant Bacteria—Viruses," 21 June 2018 What Johnson and the other Koch mouthpieces don’t like to acknowledge is that the FDA already has a program to give desperately ill — that is, terminal — patients access to experimental treatments. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "GOP senator reveals the truth: Right-to-try bill was a scam tailored to harm public health," 4 June 2018 Also among the experimental treatments that have shown some promise is favipiravir, a broad-spectrum antiviral drug, one that is intended to treat a range of viruses. Susan Scutti, CNN, "Ebola 101: Answers to your questions about causes, symptoms, transmission and treatments," 25 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'experimental.' 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 experimental

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for experimental

Middle English, borrowed from Medieval Latin experīmentālis, from Latin experīmentum "testing, experience, proof" + -ālis -al entry 1 — more at experiment entry 1

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Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for experimental

The first known use of experimental was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for experimental



English Language Learners Definition of experimental

: relating to a scientific experiment or to scientific experiments in general

: made or done in order to see how well something works

: using a new way of doing or thinking about something


ex·​per·​i·​men·​tal | \ik-ˌsper-ə-ˈmen-tᵊl \

Kids Definition of experimental

: relating to, based on, or used for experiment He's trying an experimental treatment for the disease.


ex·​per·​i·​men·​tal | \ik-ˌsper-ə-ˈment-ᵊl also -ˌspir-\

Medical Definition of experimental 

1 : of, relating to, or based on experience or experiment

2 : founded on or derived from experiment the heart of the experimental method is the direct control of the thing studied— B. F. Skinner

3 of a disease : intentionally produced especially in laboratory animals for the purpose of study experimental diabetes

Other Words from experimental

experimentally \ -​ᵊl-​ē \ adverb

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