experiment

noun
ex·​per·​i·​ment | \ ik-ˈsper-ə-mənt How to pronounce experiment (audio) also -ˈspir- How to pronounce experiment (audio) \

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 How to pronounce experiment (audio) 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 How to pronounce experiment (audio) , -​ˌmen-​ also  -​ˌspir-​ \ noun
experimenter \ ik-​ˈsper-​ə-​ˌmen-​tər How to pronounce experiment (audio) also  -​ˈspir-​ \ noun

Synonyms for experiment

Synonyms: Noun

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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 Democracy here was always an audacious, flawed experiment but better than the other ideas for governing. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, "The lies that were told to sustain the US and UK mission in Afghanistan," 29 Apr. 2021 The experiment, called SEED for Oklahoma Kids or SEED OK, is one of a growing number of efforts by cities and states — governed by Democrats and Republicans alike — to help a new generation climb the educational ladder and build assets. New York Times, "College Accounts at Birth: State Efforts Raise New Hopes," 27 Apr. 2021 Beth is a social experiment, a hypothesis that life in America is easier with a name that no one ever gets wrong. Beth Nguyen, The New Yorker, "America Ruined My Name for Me," 1 Apr. 2021 To set healthy boundaries around your own time this Spring, experiment with one or more of the tactics below. Lisa Bodell, Forbes, "7 Ways To Spring-Clean Your Schedule," 20 Apr. 2021 Some results from the experiment, which is designed to last 100 years, are already in: The sycamore trees grouped with their own kind are sprouting up faster than the ones sharing space with other species. Washington Post, "Along the Chesapeake Bay, Smithsonian scientists research at a vast outdoor laboratory," 20 Apr. 2021 Then in February 2019, Stockton, Calif. launched a guaranteed income experiment that gave 125 low-income families $500 a month, a program that gained national attention. BostonGlobe.com, "Cambridge to begin guaranteed income program for poor families," 15 Apr. 2021 In the film, four men undergoing various stages of midlife malaise attempt an experiment—inspired by famous functioning alcoholics like Hemingway and Churchill—to see whether a bit of day-drinking would rejigger their lives for the better. Lisa Wong Macabasco, Vogue, "Drunk on Life: How Denmark’s Another Round Became the Feel-Good Film of the Year," 13 Apr. 2021 Since March 2020, schools across the country have been ground zero in a massive, accidental experiment in universal free meals. Nick Roll, The Christian Science Monitor, "Should school lunches be free for all? A pandemic experiment.," 7 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb According to the Mongabay Web site, Midwestern farmers are beginning to experiment with planting rows of soybeans and corn between shrubs, such as hazelnuts—adding a high-value crop to their fields, while also sequestering carbon. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "Climate Anxiety Makes Good Sense," 5 May 2021 Ruxandra says that as technology continues to shift methods of music consumption, Warner will continue to invest in and experiment with the companies leading the new interactive experiences. Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone, "More Celebrity Virtual Concerts: Wave and Warner Enter Strategic Partnership," 3 May 2021 Below are some initiatives that have shown promise and if companies continue to build on and experiment with these ideas, then hopefully additional progress will be made toward the goal of a more equal and diverse workplace and leadership team. Eric Bachman, Forbes, "$11.5 Million Settlement Reached In Racial Glass Ceiling Case Against Kaiser," 28 Apr. 2021 As work into the use of computers in affect recognition began to take shape, researchers recognized the need for a collection of standardized images to experiment with. Kate Crawford, The Atlantic, "Why We Shouldn’t Trust AI to Tell Us What We Feel," 27 Apr. 2021 The hiatus gave Justine a desire to experiment with her own power, for which Brett was ready and willing to provide the opportunity. Rachel Cusk, Harper's Magazine, "Overtaking," 27 Apr. 2021 Now the private sector is beginning to experiment too. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Beijing orders Meituan, like Alibaba, to shape up—or else," 27 Apr. 2021 Instead, winemakers will need to experiment with new varieties or techniques. Washington Post, "French vineyards devastated by April frost that followed unusually warm March," 26 Apr. 2021 Those looking to try new dishes would be remiss not to experiment with the Philips premium XXL air fryer. Jon Winkler, USA TODAY, "The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this weekend," 24 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for experiment

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for experiment

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Experiment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/experiment. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce experiment (audio) \

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 How to pronounce experiment (audio) \
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 How to pronounce experiment (audio) \

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-​ How to pronounce experiment (audio) \ noun
experimenter \ -​ˈsper-​ə-​ˌment-​ər also -​ˈspir-​ How to pronounce experiment (audio) \ noun

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Comments on experiment

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