1. learn or experience something directly
This expression refers to knowledge or information that comes directly from personal observance or experience, rather than from an outside source. Information gleaned from outside sources, such as other people or through the internet, is classed as 'second(-)hand.' This term is common in both a social and professional context and is usually hyphenated to 'first-hand' when used as a modifier before a noun. Words with a similar meaning include 'direct' and 'empirical.'