I'm looking for a word to describe a person who has significant experience in a particular field (for example, an artist who has worked in the music industry for more than 10 years).

There are some possibilities I have already considered, such as worldly-wise or mature, but these aren't quite what I'm looking for.

  • Expert, Professional, Adept, Specialist. – Joe Dark Dec 21 '14 at 7:10
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    How is this not simply expert? – Dan Bron Dec 21 '14 at 12:48
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    @DanBron - You can work in a field for a long time without becoming an expert. Or alternatively you can acquire expertise relatively quickly. Time spent doing something and level of expertise aren't perfectly correlated. – Martin Smith Dec 21 '14 at 15:00

Some possibilities include: professional, expert, seasoned, knowledgeable, proficient or simply experienced.

In your case I would go with 'seasoned' as it forms a neat collocation:

Several exhibitions are devoted to seasoned artists.

Mr. Barry is a seasoned artist, with hundreds of exhibitions under his belt.

Now, because of expanding opportunities, dancers start troupes long before they are seasoned artists.


You could also consider "veteran"

a person who has had long experience in a particular field.

How long the experience needs to be before one is considered a veteran is quite subjective but I have certainly seen it applied to quite young people.

At 30, Alicia Keys is a music industry veteran with 35m albums sold


An authority in their field:

An accepted source of expert information or advice. - TFD

(adj: authoritative)

  • That's good, but Erik wanted an adjective, not a noun :) – Mariusz Włodarczyk Dec 21 '14 at 12:03

Not as common for artists, but a person who has extensive knowledge and expertise in a field is known in New York as a "maven". (From Yiddish, which is pervasive in the average New Yorker's vocabulary.) In fact, when you hear someone described as a "big muckety-muck" (big shot) it is a mid-western U.S. interpretation of the Yiddish "macha" or "big macha" - which is what we say in NY. Yiddish not only has a lot of great descriptive terms, but it's very onomatopoeic(?), so it easily becomes part of the lexicon.

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    Sure, down-vote me now... but when you hear "maven" in a movie or TV show, you will doubtless be appreciative of your new knowledge. – Oldbag Dec 21 '14 at 15:43
  • I was going to suggest maven before I realized it meant expertise but not necessarily experience. You can be a maven with an intense interest in a field without necessarily much actual experience in it. But I do like the word! – Mark Thompson Dec 22 '14 at 6:33
  • Why should Yiddish be "very onomatopoeic"? It is a Germanic language and as much onomatopoeic as any other Indo-European language. – Walter Tross Dec 31 '15 at 10:37

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