ob·​jec·​tive | \ əb-ˈjek-tiv How to pronounce objective (audio) , äb- \

Essential Meaning of objective

1 : based on facts rather than feelings or opinions We need someone outside the company to give us an objective analysis. : not influenced by feelings Scientists must be objective. It's hard to be objective [=fair, unbiased] about my own family.
2 philosophy : existing outside of the mind : existing in the real world objective reality
3 grammar : relating to nouns, noun phrases, or pronouns that are the objects of verbs or prepositions The pronoun "her" is in the objective [=accusative] case in the sentence "I saw her."

Full Definition of objective

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations objective art an objective history of the war an objective judgment
b of a test : limited to choices of fixed alternatives and reducing subjective factors to a minimum Each question on the objective test requires the selection of the correct answer from among several choices.
2a : of, relating to, or being an object, phenomenon, or condition in the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers : having reality independent of the mind objective reality … our reveries … are significantly and repeatedly shaped by our transactions with the objective world.— Marvin Reznikoff — compare subjective sense 3a
b : involving or deriving from sense perception or experience with actual objects, conditions, or phenomena objective awareness objective data
c of a symptom of disease : perceptible to persons other than the affected individual objective arthritis — compare subjective sense 4c
d : relating to or existing as an object of thought without consideration of independent existence used chiefly in medieval philosophy
3 : relating to, characteristic of, or constituting the case of words that follow prepositions or transitive verbs The pronoun her is in the objective case in the sentence "I saw her."


ob·​jec·​tive | \ əb-ˈjek-tiv How to pronounce objective (audio) , äb- \

Definition of objective (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : something toward which effort is directed : an aim, goal, or end of action
b : a strategic position to be attained or a purpose to be achieved by a military operation
2 : a lens or system of lenses that forms an image of an object

Other Words from objective


objectiveness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for objective


material, physical, corporeal, phenomenal, sensible, objective mean of or belonging to actuality. material implies formation out of tangible matter; used in contrast with spiritual or ideal it may connote the mundane, crass, or grasping. material values physical applies to what is perceived directly by the senses and may contrast with mental, spiritual, or imaginary. the physical benefits of exercise corporeal implies having the tangible qualities of a body such as shape, size, or resistance to force. artists have portrayed angels as corporeal beings phenomenal applies to what is known or perceived through the senses rather than by intuition or rational deduction. scientists concerned with the phenomenal world sensible stresses the capability of readily or forcibly impressing the senses. the earth's rotation is not sensible to us objective may stress material or independent existence apart from a subject perceiving it. no objective evidence of damage

fair, just, equitable, impartial, unbiased, dispassionate, objective mean free from favor toward either or any side. fair implies a proper balance of conflicting interests. a fair decision just implies an exact following of a standard of what is right and proper. a just settlement of territorial claims equitable implies a less rigorous standard than just and usually suggests equal treatment of all concerned. the equitable distribution of the property impartial stresses an absence of favor or prejudice. an impartial third party unbiased implies even more strongly an absence of all prejudice. your unbiased opinion dispassionate suggests freedom from the influence of strong feeling and often implies cool or even cold judgment. a dispassionate summation of the facts objective stresses a tendency to view events or persons as apart from oneself and one's own interest or feelings. I can't be objective about my own child


intention, intent, purpose, design, aim, end, object, objective, goal mean what one intends to accomplish or attain. intention implies little more than what one has in mind to do or bring about. announced his intention to marry intent suggests clearer formulation or greater deliberateness. the clear intent of the statute purpose suggests a more settled determination. being successful was her purpose in life design implies a more carefully calculated plan. the order of events came by accident, not design aim adds to these implications of effort directed toward attaining or accomplishing. her aim was to raise film to an art form end stresses the intended effect of action often in distinction or contrast to the action or means as such. willing to use any means to achieve his end object may equal end but more often applies to a more individually determined wish or need. his constant object was the achievement of pleasure objective implies something tangible and immediately attainable. their objective is to seize the oil fields goal suggests something attained only by prolonged effort and hardship. worked years to reach her goals

Examples of objective in a Sentence

Adjective For no matter how objective Server tries to appear in detailing the highs and lows of her 67 years—the three marriages, the numerous affairs, the binges, the nightlong cruising of low-life byways and bordellos, the mainly poor movies she was in—he cannot really hide his essential fondness for her. — Peter Bogdanovich, New York Times Book Review, 23 Apr. 2006 I'm not going to read the history about it while I'm alive because I don't trust short-term history. Most historians wouldn't have voted for me, so I don't think they can write an objective history. — George W. Bush, quoted in Time, 6 Sept. 2004 "I'm not really a Hollywood person," said Mr. [Clint] Eastwood, who lives mostly in Carmel. "Not that I don't like L.A., but I'm just a Northern California guy. And it's very hard to be objective about what you're doing in a town that's all consumed by the entertainment business." — Bernard Weinraub, New York Times, 6 Aug. 1992 We need someone outside the company to give us an objective analysis. an objective assessment based solely upon the results of the experiment Noun The first objective of the low-intensity war was to "bleed" India so that it would cut its losses and quit. — Pervez Hoodbhoy, Prospect, June 2003 The Orange Plan assumed an early Japanese capture of the Philippines, and made relief of the Philippines the main U.S. objective. — David M. Kennedy, Atlantic, March 1999 The President had largely stuck to his publicly stated goals—though the objective of smashing Iraq's military machine hadn't been so clear. — Elizabeth Drew, New Yorker, 6 May 1991 … their primary objective is not the enrollment of new voters but changing the party affiliation of old voters … — Lawrence King, Commonweal, 9 Oct. 1970 The main objective of the class is to teach basic typing skills. She's expanding the business with the objective of improving efficiency. We've set specific objectives for each day.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Americans have far more consumer variety than the human brain can really contend with, and more than any objective measure of need could conceivably support. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 22 Nov. 2021 The tasks gave Lalwani’s team an objective way of categorizing the participants’ normal cognitive levels. Max G. Levy, Wired, 22 Nov. 2021 They had been accepted into a growing club of companies earning objective certifications regarding sustainable, environmental, good supply and workplace practices. Louis Biscotti, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 Some of this reflects a polarized electorate less swayed by objective evidence of how the economy is doing and more by hot-button social and cultural issues. Greg Ip, WSJ, 10 Nov. 2021 The cameras are now standard issue in many jurisdictions across the country, seen as a way to provide more objective accounts of police actions and rely less on the recollections of officers or anyone else. Eric Umansky, ProPublica, 8 Nov. 2021 By the end of the twentieth century, diagnostic devices—X-ray machines, MRI scanners, and ultrasounds—had made diagnosis increasingly objective while allowing doctors to conduct mostly touch-free exams. Jessica Wapner, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2021 Florida: By any objective measure, Florida has one of the most talented rosters in college football. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 1 Nov. 2021 Grants will be based on an objective system that measures COVID-19’s financial impact on the business. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If the effort is successful in supporting a sustained human presence on the moon, the next objective would be Mars. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 23 Nov. 2021 If successful in supporting a sustained human presence on the moon, the next objective would be Mars. Keith Ridler, ajc, 19 Nov. 2021 So to barely play him on a particular night and then cite a near-term objective is absolutely perplexing. Rahat Huq, Chron, 18 Nov. 2021 Shen Yang, a professor at Tsinghua University’s School of Journalism, sees the potential of the metaverse serving Xi’s objective of integrating the real and virtual economies. Mary Hui, Quartz, 17 Nov. 2021 That remains the primary objective and the basis for the funding proposal, which would leave nothing to chance in terms of a prospective sheriff’s sale. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, 15 Nov. 2021 The primary objective still hasn't changed for Xavier's men's basketball team – put all the pieces together for a full 40 minutes. Adam Baum, The Enquirer, 14 Nov. 2021 But Saudi leaders for years have vowed to pump the last molecule of oil from their kingdom before world demand ends -- an objective that a fast global switch from fossil fuels would frustrate. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 12 Nov. 2021 Companies need to have a high-level campaign objective, which should serve as the North Star for all performance. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'objective.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of objective


1647, in the meaning defined at sense 2d


1835, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for objective


borrowed from Medieval Latin objectīvus "considered in relation to its purpose, relating to an object of thought," from objectum "something presented to the mind, goal, aim" + Latin -īvus -ive — more at object entry 1


in sense 1 probably short for objective point "goal of a military operation"; in sense 2 noun derivative of objective, adjective, "nearest the object (of the parts of a lens in a telescope, microscope, etc.)," probably borrowed from French (in verre objectif "lens nearest the object") — more at objective entry 1

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Time Traveler for objective

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The first known use of objective was in 1647

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Dictionary Entries Near objective



objective complement

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Last Updated

25 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Objective.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/objective. Accessed 4 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for objective


ob·​jec·​tive | \ əb-ˈjek-tiv How to pronounce objective (audio) \

Kids Definition of objective

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : dealing with facts without allowing personal feelings to confuse them an objective report
2 : being or belonging to the case of a noun or pronoun that is an object of a transitive verb or a preposition
3 : being outside of the mind and independent of it

Other Words from objective

objectively adverb



Kids Definition of objective (Entry 2 of 2)

: purpose, goal Before you begin the experiment, state your objective.


ob·​jec·​tive | \ əb-ˈjek-tiv, äb- How to pronounce objective (audio) \

Medical Definition of objective

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or being an object, phenomenon, or condition in the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers objective reality
2 : perceptible to persons other than the affected individual an objective symptom of disease — compare subjective sense 2b

Other Words from objective

objectively adverb



Medical Definition of objective (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a lens or system of lenses that forms an image of an object
2 : something toward which effort is directed

More from Merriam-Webster on objective

Nglish: Translation of objective for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of objective for Arabic Speakers


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