experience

Definitions

General English

  • noun knowledge obtained by working or living in various situations
  • noun something that happens to you
  • verb to live through something

General Science

  • verb to participate in something or find yourself in a particular situation

Aviation

  • noun the building up of knowledge or skill over a period of time by an active participation in events or activities

Commerce

  • noun knowledge or skill that comes from having had to deal with many different situations

Origin & History of “experience”

Experience, experiment (14th c.), and expert (14th c.) all come from the same source, Latin experīrī. This was a compound verb formed from the prefix ex- ‘out’ and a prehistoric base *per- denoting ‘attempt, trial’ (found also in English empirical, peril, pirate, and repertory), and meant ‘try, test’. The original meaning is best preserved in experiment, but in fact experience too meant at first ‘putting to the test’ in English. From this developed the notion of ‘actually observing phenomena in order to gain knowledge of them’, which in turn led to the more subjective ‘condition of having undergone or been affected by a particular event’. The sense ‘knowledge or skill gained from such observation or from undergoing such events’ did not, however, emerge until the late 15th century. Expert was originally only an adjective, meaning ‘having experience of something’, or ‘trained by such experience’; its use as a noun only developed in the 19th century.
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