late 14c., "having had experience; skillful," from Old French expert, espert "experienced, practiced, skilled" and directly from Latin expertus (contracted from *experitus), "tried, proved, known by experience," past participle of experiri "to try, test," from ex "out of" (see ex-) + peritus "experienced, tested," from PIE *per-yo-, suffixed form of root *per- (3) "to try, risk." The adjective tends to be accented on the second syllable, the noun on the first. Related: Expertly; expertness.
early 15c., "person wise through experience," from expert (adj.). The word reappeared 1825 in the legal sense, "person who, by virtue of special acquired knowledge or experience on a subject, presumably not within the knowledge of men generally, may testify in a court of justice to matters of opinion thereon, as distinguished from ordinary witnesses, who can in general testify only to facts" [Century Dictionary].
updated on April 29, 2020