Regardless of what you’re doing, there may be many times when you need to describe the experience that you have. Examples of such times include answering questions during job interviews, talking about the things you did on vacation with your friends, or speaking to your family about your future plans.
If you find yourself in one of these situations, you may need to describe your experiences several times. However, it is not necessary to use the word experience over and over. Instead, you can use one of the following synonyms, depending on what specific meaning you want to say.
Experience have several different meanings, and the list below is categorized according to part of speech (verb or noun) and definition.
Experience synonyms as a verb
Experience as a verb means to have practical contact with something.
To be involved in
This phrase means to take part in something, and to act in it. You can be involved in a play, an organization, an event, or something else that requires you to dedicate some time, energy, and possibly money into it.
- Robert is involved in a dance group at his university, and they will perform at the talent show tomorrow night.
- Amelia wanted her husband to be involved in their children’s school, but he was too busy with work to commit to it.
- I don’t want my brother to be involved in that group of people.
To participate in
Similar to being involved with something, to participate in something means to take part in it and contribute time and energy. Often, you can participate in various events, but groups and organizations can be participated in as well.
- Sophia participated in the tennis tournament and won first place, bringing the trophy home to her school.
- Greg wanted to participate in Woman’s March downtown tonight, so he went home early to prepare to go.
- Manuel founded a nonprofit organization that helps tutor low-income students after school, and he is asking everyone he knows to participate in teaching the students.
To be exposed to
Another way to experience something is to be exposed to it, or simply observe and have something made known to you. Sometimes, just being able to see something can bring it from a concept and theory to a real thing, and increase your sympathy to it.
- Max’s parents wanted him to be exposed to different styles of living around the world so that he would be able to appreciate the things that he had.
- In my line of work, I have been exposed to the way that the health care system really works; many people who come to the emergency room don’t actually need emergency care but come anyway because they cannot afford to go to the regular doctor.
- Noah decided that being a lawyer was his career goal after he was exposed to the excitement and drama of a courtroom.
One way to gain exposure to something is to observe it, or see it with your own eyes but not participate in it. This type of experience can be useful for a high-risk job, such as a police officer or surgeon, who should not try to get hands-on experience without enough training.
- Jenny sat outside the classroom observing the teaching talking to her students.
- The zoology students went to the ornithology exhibit at the local zoo to observe birds in captivity to prepare for their field trip to see wild birds in the forest.
- Thomas was nervous before performing his first surgery because he had only observed his mentor do surgeries before.
To be aware of
To be aware of something means to have an idea that it exists. It means that you move from not knowing what something is to having a basic understanding of it, which is an important first leap. However, simply knowing that something exists and being an advocate for it are two different things, so if you talk about awareness of something in a job interview, make sure you can elaborate as well.
- I am aware of the problems with freedom of speech, but I still think freedom to say what you want is incredibly important.
- Liam was vaguely aware of what his coworkers were saying about him, but all he cared about is what his boss thought about him.
- Sarah is aware of the importance of time management, so she designed a calendar system that worked for her.
To be familiar with
Being familiar with something is a small step up from simply being aware of it. To be familiar with a problem or system means that you can probably describe it, provide solutions, and have your own insight to offer, even if you are not an expert yet.
- Fred’s boss wanted him to become familiar with the inner workings of the conference before he started planning it.
- Danielle is more familiar with biological psychology than social psychology, so she works in a research lab with human test subjects.
- The political candidate thought that was familiar with the issue in the Middle East but it was clear from his interview that he was not.
Another step up from being familiar with something is to understand it – or to know the information you need and be able to explain it to someone else. You may be approaching being an expert on the issue.
- I understand how book publishing works, so I can make sure to pitch your manuscript in a way that maximizes the possibility of publication.
- If Theresa understood why the company morale was so low, she would be able to prevent it from getting any worse.
- Beth was finally able to understand why her parents were always so worried about her when she had her first child.
To have insight into
When you understand something, you may take your understanding up a step and offer your own thoughts and new ideas. Your insights are new ideas what you can contribute.
- The consultant has some useful insights into how we can increase our earnings this year.
- It was a good thing that Joe had insight into the market research we did so that we could create a really successful product.
- The mark of a good teacher is having insight into how students learn and how they can apply their knowledge.
To encounter means to meet something or someone.
- I have encountered this problem before, so I know how to solve it.
- Ed encountered his dream girl on the subway but she walked away before he could say hi.
- The company has never encountered much criticism because they have been very successful in the things that they tried.
If you endure something, you experience it but often with pain and suffering, whether physical or psychological.
- Emma had to endure the grueling hours of her internship last summer, but it all paid off when the company she was interning for offered her a full-time job.
- As you get older, you have to choose between living rent-free with your parents but enduring their concern and nagging or paying rent but having more freedom.
- If you can endure the challenges at the beginning, you will be rewarded in the end.
To come into contact with
To come into contact with means to physically or metaphorically see, feel, or take part in something. This usually means that you had just a simple, non-serious interaction with something – not anything serious.
- Zoe came into contact with the poisonous spider, but luckily the doctor at the emergency room had an antidote and prevented her from suffering any damage.
- I came into contact with the World Health Organization for the first time when I was in high school, and have wanted to work for them ever since.
- Tony came into contact with similar challenges at her previous job, so she is able to explain how we can best combat our current problem.
To come across
Coming across something means to stumble upon it, or see it when you are looking for something else or nothing in particular.
- The rookie police officer came across a photo of the victim and his brother at a poker tournament, giving the precinct a new lead on the murder case.
- I was reading the newspaper last night and came across the idea of the ten-thousand-hour rule – have you heard about it?
- Brianna was browsing through Facebook, hoping to come across news of her ex-boyfriend but she could not find anything.
To face something – usually a challenge or problem – means to deal with or work to solve something.
- Harry Potter faced Lord Voldemort many times throughout his time at Hogwarts School of Wizardry.
- Do not be afraid to face your fears, for having overcoming them will only make you stronger.
- Olivia could not face her brother after she accidentally spilled her juice on his laptop.
Experiencing an emotion is to feel that emotion.
- Ben did not know that he could feel as much fear as he did in that moment, standing on the edge of the cliff looking down.
- Lily felt a surge of excitement when she woke up on Christmas Day, and then rushed downstairs to see all the presents she had been given.
- Dylan made his mom feel pride, which gave him more motivation to work hard.
Experience synonyms as a noun, meaning skills and previous work in something
The skills that you have are the abilities you have to do something.
- Your writing skills are incredible.
- Emily’s teacher thought that her language skills were far better than everyone else in her class.
- William has enough skill to win the tournament, but only if he keeps practicing.
Having practical knowledge in something means to have done it.
- Your practical knowledge in getting others to cooperate will be far more useful than the things you have read in a book for this task.
- Much of what a formal education is lacking is the practical knowledge you need to succeed in the world, especially concerning money and investing.
- Noah decided to do the internship instead of volunteering at his church like he did every summer because he wanted to get some practical knowledge in his field now that he was in college.
Practice is the act of doing something over and over and slowly improving over time. For many skills, practice is required if you want to improve, such as for playing a sport, writing, designing, or public speaking.
- It takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something, according to Malcolm Gladwell.
- All the athletes that you look up to spend the majority of their lives practicing their sport.
- Victoria had to practice her presentation ten times in front of the mirror before she felt ready to give it at school.
Training a special kind of instruction or education that helps you improve a certain skill.
- If your employer is not paying you to attend different trainings to improve your skills, you should ask them to fund something.
- The training that Molly wants to attend will cost several thousand dollars, but she thinks it will be worth it.
- Even animals have to receive training to be ready to perform at the circus or in a theme park show.
Learning is the process through which you gain knowledge or skills. It may be dependent on having a teacher to help you, but can also be done yourself.
- Your learning is in your own hands; it doesn’t have to stop after you graduate from school.
- If you cannot do something, you can try learning it before asking for help.
- Jeremy’s teacher is not very clear, so he has to do a lot of learning by himself.
Education is systematized learning and a transfer of skills from teacher to student. Most of the time, it refers to a formal school system, including university.
- While having a basic education is important, many skills can be learned on your own through the internet now.
- Xavier wanted to get an education but could not afford college tuition, so he turned to videos on YouTube and was able to use that to convince an employer to hire him.
- Education often requires you to learn through books, but practical experience is just as, if not more, important.
Having a background or experience in something means to have some context in it. This can often include educational or work experience.
- My university background is in computer science, and I want to specialize in game design.
- Even though Tyler has a background in psychology instead of marketing, he has shown that what he knows can bring a different perspective for our products.
- What is your educational and professional background?
The things that you know are your knowledge, whether it is something you know how to do or facts that you can teach to someone else.
- A thirst for knowledge is the mark of a good student.
- Some knowledge you can only learn from a book, but other knowledge you can only learn from doing something.
- Children often protest that they will not need the knowledge taught to them at school, but many of them grow up to find that they do.
Another term for know-how is the French savoir faire, which is also used in English to mean the ability to know what to do and handle a situation.
- Know-how often refers to skills like speaking a language instead of facts because it is a more abstract ability to do something well.
- Barney has outstanding know-how when it comes to getting people to do what he wants.
- Being a great translator takes a lot of know-how, which can only be gained over years of practice and experience, and possibly having a good mentor.
Experience synonyms as a noun, meaning something that happens
Anything that happens can be an incident, but the word sometimes refers to bad things that happen.
- There was an incident of misbehavior at the school, so the children’s parents were called.
- The company did not want another incident of mistreating customers, so they instituted a new policy calling for the firing of employees who did not handle conflicts with grace and patience.
- The incident at the office served as a warning for the leadership.
An event is anything that happens as well, but events are usually of some importance or interest.
- Will you attend the events to raise money for the charity?
- Nancy invited me to her barbeque event for the Fourth of July, and I already told her that we would go.
- There are thousands of events at every Olympic Games, and I watch as many of them as I can on TV.
Another word for experience, a happening usually refers to something informal and quick, such as a get-together between a group of friends. In some contexts, a happening may refer to a play or act.
- Did you see the news about the new happening at the theater?
- Frank invited me to the happening at Tess and Jenna’s place tonight but I’m not sure I will go.
- Blaine wanted to organize a happening for the group, but he got busy and ended up not having time to plan anything.
While an affair can be an instance of someone who is in a relationship cheating, in this context it means a type of event, usually something fancy and formal like a party or gala.
- Will you attend the black-tie affair with your wife tomorrow evening?
- The Winterbottoms are planning a Christmas affair to raise money for their charity foundation.
- No one would take responsibility for the disastrous media affair, but the company recovered anyway.