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.
  3. 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.
  4. knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed, encountered, or undergone: a man of experience.
  5. 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.
  1. experience religion, to undergo a spiritual conversion by which one gains or regains faith in God.

verb (tr)

  1. to participate in or undergo (an event or experience) again


  1. direct personal participation or observation; actual knowledge or contactexperience of prison life
  2. a particular incident, feeling, etc, that a person has undergonean experience to remember
  3. accumulated knowledge, esp of practical mattersa man of experience
    1. the totality of characteristics, both past and present, that make up the particular quality of a person, place, or people
    2. the impact made on an individual by the culture of a people, nation, etcthe American experience
  4. philosophy
    1. the content of a perception regarded as independent of whether the apparent object actually existsCompare sense datum
    2. the faculty by which a person acquires knowledge of contingent facts about the world, as contrasted with reason
    3. the totality of a person’s perceptions, feelings, and memories

verb (tr)

  1. to participate in or undergo
  2. to be emotionally or aesthetically moved by; feelto experience beauty

late 14c., “observation as the source of knowledge; actual observation; an event which has affected one,” from Old French esperience (13c.) “experiment, proof, experience,” from Latin experientia “knowledge gained by repeated trials,” from experientem (nominative experiens), present participle of experiri “to try, test,” from ex- “out of” (see ex-) + peritus “experienced, tested,” from PIE root *per- “to lead, pass over” (see peril). Meaning “state of having done something and gotten handy at it” is from late 15c.


1530s, “to test, try;” see experience (n.). Sense of “feel, undergo” first recorded 1580s. Related: Experiences; experiencing.


  1. The feeling of emotions and sensations as opposed to thinking; involvement in what is happening rather than abstract reflection on an event.

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