[ ik-speer-ee-uhns ]
See synonyms for: experienceexperiencedexperiencesexperiencing on Thesaurus.com

  1. a particular instance of personally encountering or undergoing something: My encounter with the bear in the woods was a frightening experience.

  2. the process or fact of personally observing, encountering, or undergoing something: business experience.

  1. the observing, encountering, or undergoing of things generally as they occur in the course of time: to learn from experience; the range of human experience.

  2. knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed, encountered, or undergone: a man of experience.

  3. Philosophy. the totality of the cognitions given by perception; all that is perceived, understood, and remembered.

verb (used with object),ex·pe·ri·enced, ex·pe·ri·enc·ing.
  1. to have experience of; meet with; undergo; feel: to experience nausea.

  2. to learn by experience.

Idioms about experience

  1. experience religion, to undergo a spiritual conversion by which one gains or regains faith in God.

Origin of experience

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, Middle French, from Latin experientia, equivalent to experient- (stem of experiēns, past participle of experīrī “to try, test”; see ex-1, peril) + -ia noun suffix; see -ence

Other words for experience

Other words from experience

  • ex·pe·ri·ence·a·ble, adjective
  • ex·pe·ri·ence·less, adjective
  • post·ex·pe·ri·ence, adjective
  • pre·ex·pe·ri·ence, noun, verb (used with object), pre·ex·pe·ri·enced, pre·ex·pe·ri·enc·ing.
  • re·ex·pe·ri·ence, verb, re·ex·pe·ri·enced, re·ex·pe·ri·enc·ing.

Words Nearby experience

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use experience in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for experience


/ (ɪkˈspɪərɪəns) /

  1. direct personal participation or observation; actual knowledge or contact: experience of prison life

  2. a particular incident, feeling, etc, that a person has undergone: an experience to remember

  1. accumulated knowledge, esp of practical matters: a man of experience

    • the totality of characteristics, both past and present, that make up the particular quality of a person, place, or people

    • the impact made on an individual by the culture of a people, nation, etc: the American experience

  2. philosophy

    • the content of a perception regarded as independent of whether the apparent object actually exists: Compare sense datum

    • the faculty by which a person acquires knowledge of contingent facts about the world, as contrasted with reason

    • the totality of a person's perceptions, feelings, and memories

  1. to participate in or undergo

  2. to be emotionally or aesthetically moved by; feel: to experience beauty

Origin of experience

C14: from Latin experientia, from experīrī to prove; related to Latin perīculum peril

Derived forms of experience

  • experienceable, adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012