subjective

adjective
sub·​jec·​tive | \ (ˌ)səb-ˈjek-tiv How to pronounce subjective (audio) \

Definition of subjective

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or constituting a subject: such as
a obsolete : of, relating to, or characteristic of one that is a subject especially in lack of freedom of action or in submissiveness
b : being or relating to a grammatical subject especially : nominative
2 : of or relating to the essential being of that which has substance, qualities, attributes, or relations
3a : characteristic of or belonging to reality as perceived rather than as independent of mind : phenomenal — compare objective sense 1b
b : relating to or being experience or knowledge as conditioned by personal mental characteristics or states
4a(1) : peculiar to a particular individual : personal subjective judgments
(2) : modified or affected by personal views, experience, or background a subjective account of the incident
b : arising from conditions within the brain or sense organs and not directly caused by external stimuli subjective sensations
c : arising out of or identified by means of one's perception of one's own states and processes a subjective symptom of disease — compare objective sense 1c
5 : lacking in reality or substance : illusory

subjective

noun
sub·​jec·​tive | \ (ˌ)səb-ˈjek-tiv How to pronounce subjective (audio) \

Definition of subjective (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is subjective also : nominative

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Other Words from subjective

Adjective

subjectively adverb
subjectiveness noun
subjectivity \ (ˌ)səb-​ˌjek-​ˈti-​və-​tē How to pronounce subjectivity (audio) \ noun

Examples of subjective in a Sentence

Adjective

Art is never a commodity. Commodities are identical units of sure value—bushels of wheat, say—whose price fluctuates from time to time and place to place. Art works are one-of-a-kind … items, materially worthless, which have in common that a price is asked for them. Their value is entirely subjective. — Peter Schjedlahl, New Yorker, 16 Feb. 2009 Our perception of loudness is subjective, but sound has an intensity, independent of our hearing, that is measured in decibels (dB). — Jennifer Barone, Discover, July/August 2009 Science is the study of facts—things that are measurable, testable, repeatable, verifiable. I won't bore you with the inevitable discussion of objective reality and how it's ultimately unknowable because we filter it through our individual subjective realities, I'll cut directly to the chase. Science is about the stuff we can agree on. Rocks are hard, water is wet. — David Gerrold, Fantasy & Science Fiction, September 2005 Besides, I am not doing this for the anthropology. My aim is nothing so mistily subjective as to "experience poverty" or find out how it "really feels" to be a long-term low-wage worker. — Barbara Ehrenreich, Harper's, January 1999 Dreaming is a subjective experience. a person's subjective perception of the world Personal taste in clothing is very subjective. In reviewing applicants, we consider both objective criteria, such as test scores, and subjective criteria, such as leadership ability. Law can be maddeningly subjective. So much is left up to your own interpretation.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Beauty is indeed subjective, and what makes a woman feel beautiful can vary greatly. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "8 Black Owned Lip Brands Worth Running Your Mouth About," 6 June 2019 The article concedes that the designation is subjective, but then, ever the arbiter, shows a slideshow of different neighborhoods chosen by interviewees. Collier Meyerson, WIRED, "The Last Black Man Searches for ‘Authenticity’ but There Is None," 6 June 2019 Knierim's new work showed that, contrary to predictions, these content encoding neurons also fired in a location-dependent way, just in a very subjective manner. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Collating memories of what happened based on where it happened," 25 Nov. 2018 Even subjective or unanswerable queries sometimes get seemingly definitive answers. Rob Copeland, WSJ, "Google Prepares to Launch New Privacy Tools to Limit Cookies," 6 May 2019 The rest will always be subjective and often behind closed doors. Paul Dehner Jr., Cincinnati.com, "Mike Brown-Marvin Lewis fact or fiction: Cincinnati Bengals lack discipline, accountability?," 9 Jan. 2018 The fashionista in me is saying style is subjective and my applause to these jeans for being unapologetically out-there. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "You Can Now Buy $425 Jeans Covered In Mud, Because ~Fashion~," 26 Apr. 2017 Photo: Marvel/Walt Disney Studios The Oscars have always been subjective, of course, but at its core, the best picture award is meant to recognize greatness on-screen. John Jurgensen, WSJ, "In Charged Political Climate, Best Picture Oscar is About More than the Movie," 21 Feb. 2019 Likability judgments are of course highly subjective. James Freeman, WSJ, "Gender, Likability and Opportunity," 7 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subjective.' 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 subjective

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1817, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for subjective

Adjective

see subject entry 1

Noun

see subject entry 1

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Statistics for subjective

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for subjective

The first known use of subjective was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for subjective

subjective

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of subjective

philosophy : relating to the way a person experiences things in his or her own mind
: based on feelings or opinions rather than facts
grammar : relating to nouns, noun phrases, or pronouns that are the subjects of verbs

subjective

adjective
sub·​jec·​tive | \ səb-ˈjek-tiv How to pronounce subjective (audio) \

Kids Definition of subjective

: based mainly on opinions or feelings rather than on facts a subjective report

subjective

adjective
sub·​jec·​tive | \ (ˌ)səb-ˈjek-tiv How to pronounce subjective (audio) \

Medical Definition of subjective

1a : relating to or determined by the mind as the subject of experience subjective reality
b : characteristic of or belonging to reality as perceived rather than as independent of mind
c : relating to or being experience or knowledge as conditioned by personal mental characteristics or states
2a : arising from conditions within the brain or sense organs and not directly caused by external stimuli subjective sensations
b : arising out of or identified by means of one's perception of one's own states and processes and not observable by an examiner a subjective symptom of disease caused objective or subjective clinical improvement or bothJournal of the American Medical Association — compare objective sense 2

Other Words from subjective

subjectively adverb

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