Definition of experimental in US English:



  • 1(of a new invention or product) based on untested ideas or techniques and not yet established or finalized.

    ‘an experimental drug’
    • ‘It hopes to start clinical trials on its first experimental drug around the middle of next year.’
    • ‘Recently, researchers combined strontium with ranelic acid to produce the experimental drug.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the experimental products will be tried in real repair projects.’
    • ‘Once in orbit, the experimental craft will wait four days before extending its solar sails, and will use this time to take pictures of Earth.’
    • ‘He is about to take part in a trial of an experimental American drug in the hope he can buy more time.’
    exploratory, investigational, probing, fact-finding, trial and error
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    1. 1.1 (of a work of art or an artistic technique) involving a radically new and innovative style.
      ‘experimental music’
      • ‘Why do you think there is such an interest in experimental music now, with more and more bands taking greater musical risks?’
      • ‘During the first few weeks of June, electronica and experimental techno in the purist sense of the genre descends on Montreal.’
      • ‘The roots of this approach might be traced to his introduction to experimental film-making.’
      • ‘What happened to experimental filmmaking in Australia after that?’
      • ‘Using the natural buoyancy of the water, the experimental dance is both effortless and enormously fluid.’
      • ‘I also recommend the disc for those who love avant-garde, experimental filmmaking.’
      • ‘This argument links his views to a well established experimental literature.’
      • ‘Instead, he draws from his background in experimental jazz and spoken word.’
      • ‘Vancouver is known for its small, young, independent, and experimental dance community.’
      • ‘He claims that he can find no evidence for pure clairvoyance in any of the spontaneous or experimental literature.’
      • ‘Living downstairs is Brian, an abstract artist with some truly disturbing experimental techniques.’
      • ‘Both shows entail a plethora of experimental dance, theater and music performances.’
      • ‘Breaking with the traditional canon of styles in the arts, pop art is as experimental as the expressionist or primitive arts.’
      • ‘The group has been described as the most radical and experimental art movement of the sixties.’
      • ‘Stephen is a creature that likes the form of traditional song, but he also loves the ideas of experimental music.’
      • ‘It blends edgy, experimental programming with traditional arts offerings.’
      • ‘The spirit of experimental music lives on in Sao Paulo.’
      • ‘We formed an experimental music group in 1980 called the East End Butchers.’
      • ‘There was no avant-garde art any more, there was no more experimental drama any more.’
      • ‘The kinds of literary work that have been described as postmodernist include the Theatre of the Absurd and some experimental poetry.’
      innovative, innovatory, new, original, inventive, radical, avant-garde, alternative, fringe
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    2. 1.2 Relating to scientific experiments.
      ‘experimental results’
      • ‘Our experimental results seem to correlate with these theoretical findings.’
      • ‘Xenotransplantation is currently an experimental technique only.’
      • ‘Her experimental results tell us what infants are actually able to learn.’
      • ‘This section will depict some of the applications of this knowledge that can be used in experimental protocols.’
      • ‘Segre correctly emphasizes the importance of experimental tests of theoretical ideas.’
      • ‘The model was calibrated on the basis of the similar experimental results.’
      • ‘Use of a constant cooling rate is very common in experimental practice.’
      • ‘The structural results are in agreement with experimental literature data.’
      • ‘The ripple phase has been extensively studied by a variety of experimental techniques.’
      • ‘Various experimental techniques have been used to study the gating mechanism of MscL.’
      • ‘Patients wishing to store their eggs should note that egg freezing and the use of frozen eggs in treatment are experimental techniques.’
      • ‘To check for robustness of results in this experimental study we used analysis of variance, analysis of covariance, and nested design.’
      • ‘The experimental protocol was approved by the Institute's Ethical Committee.’
      • ‘We found that, on average, experimental treatment resulted in slightly better disease control than standard therapy did.’
      • ‘The surgical and experimental protocol was technically successful in all nine animals.’
      • ‘These findings are supported by both experimental and theoretical results.’
      • ‘The two groups were collapsed for further analyses, resulting in a larger experimental group.’
      • ‘The sections below detail the experimental protocol for each of the two treatments.’
      • ‘DNA was prepared as described in the experimental protocol section.’
      • ‘On the following day, the bird received the other food type with the same experimental protocol.’
    3. 1.3archaic Based on experience as opposed to authority or conjecture.
      ‘an experimental knowledge of God’
      • ‘What converts it from speculation to knowledge is confirmation by experimental evidence.’
      • ‘Pauli based his investigation on a profound analysis of the experimental and theoretical knowledge in atomic physics at the time.’


Late 15th century (in the sense ‘having personal experience’, also ‘experienced, observed’): from medieval Latin experimentalis, from Latin experimentum (see experiment).