ex·​per·​i·​men·​tal | \ ik-ˌsper-ə-ˈmen-tᵊl also -ˌspir- How to pronounce experimental (audio) \

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 How to pronounce experimentally (audio) also  -​ˌspir-​ \ adverb

Synonyms for experimental


developmental, pilot, trial

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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

But this is hardly the first time one of America’s experimental or homegrown faiths have surfaced in politics. Sam Kestenbaum, New York Times, "The Curious Mystical Text Behind Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Bid," 5 July 2019 But with his more recent work, Neuwirth is aiming for a more electronic and experimental sound -- and more personal lyrical content. John Russell, Billboard, "Conchita Wurst on the Importance of Stonewall to Europe and Feeling 'Recharged' After Pride," 2 July 2019 Before that experimental and developmental year, the Padres hadn’t had a staff ERA this high this far into a season since 2009. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres come back on Rockies again, split crazy series at Coors," 16 June 2019 Resistance by residents wary of authorities has hurt containment efforts in an outbreak where an experimental but effective Ebola vaccine is being widely used for the first time. Fox News, "Boy, 5, dies of Ebola as outbreak crosses Congo border," 13 June 2019 By leaving the experimental, erratic startup world and getting listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Uber and Lyft will assume images of being mature, stable, and transparent companies — a reputation neither has necessarily earned just yet. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Uber and Lyft are racing each other to go public. Here’s why.," 12 Dec. 2018 But the university needs money to carry these experimental treatments through the testing process. Karen Kaplan, latimes.com, "California stem cell research centers receive $30-million gift from Broad Foundation," 26 June 2019 Uganda’s science and drug agencies, looking to pre-empt a large-scale outbreak, also approved three new experimental treatments for the virus on June 18. Ciara Nugent, Time, "As Ebola Continues to Spread In Congo, Uganda Watches Nervously," 20 June 2019 Congo’s health ministry says all members of the Congolese-Ugandan family have agreed to be repatriated to Congo for experimental treatments as part of clinical trials. Washington Post, "The Latest: Congo starts giving Ebola vaccine to some babies," 13 June 2019

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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Statistics for experimental

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

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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 How to pronounce experimental (audio) \

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- How to pronounce experimental (audio) \

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 How to pronounce experimentally (audio) \ adverb

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Comments on experimental

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


to form ideas or theories about something

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