See also: expérience



From Middle English experience, from Old French, from Latin experientia (a trial, proof, experiment, experimental knowledge, experience), from experiens, present participle of experiri (to try, put to the test, undertake, undergo), from ex (out) + peritus (experienced, expert), past participle of *periri (to go through); see expert and peril. Displaced native Old English āfandung (experience) and āfandian (to experience).



experience (countable and uncountable, plural experiences)

  1. The effect upon the judgment or feelings produced by any event, whether witnessed or participated in; personal and direct impressions as contrasted with description or fancies; personal acquaintance; actual enjoyment or suffering.
    It was an experience he would not soon forget.
    • March 20, 1684-5, John Sharp, Sermon preached at Whitehall
      Those that undertook the religion of our Savior upon his preaching, had no experience of it.
    • 1913, Robert Barr, chapter 4, in Lord Stranleigh Abroad[1]:
      “I have tried, as I hinted, to enlist the co-operation of other capitalists, but experience has taught me that any appeal is futile that does not impinge directly upon cupidity. []
  2. (countable) An activity one has performed.
  3. (countable) A collection of events and/or activities from which an individual or group may gather knowledge, opinions, and skills.
  4. (uncountable) The knowledge thus gathered.
    • 2013 June 7, Ed Pilkington, “‘Killer robots’ should be banned in advance, UN told”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 6:
      In his submission to the UN, [Christof] Heyns points to the experience of drones. Unmanned aerial vehicles were intended initially only for surveillance, and their use for offensive purposes was prohibited, yet once strategists realised their perceived advantages as a means of carrying out targeted killings, all objections were swept out of the way.
  5. (obsolete, uncountable) Trial; a test or experiment.

Usage notesEdit



Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


experience (third-person singular simple present experiences, present participle experiencing, simple past and past participle experienced)

  1. (transitive) To observe certain events; undergo a certain feeling or process; or perform certain actions that may alter one or contribute to one's knowledge, opinions, or skills.


Derived termsEdit



  • experience at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • experience in Keywords for Today: A 21st Century Vocabulary, edited by The Keywords Project, Colin MacCabe, Holly Yanacek, 2018.
  • "experience" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 126.
  • experience in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911
  • experience in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913

Further readingEdit