subjective

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

Essential Meaning of subjective

1 philosophy : relating to the way a person experiences things in his or her own mind subjective reality Dreaming is a subjective experience. a person's subjective perception of the world
2 : based on feelings or opinions rather than facts a subjective judgment/decision Personal taste in clothing is very subjective. See More ExamplesIn 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.Hide
3 grammar : relating to nouns, noun phrases, or pronouns that are the subjects of verbs The pronoun "we" is in the subjective [=nominative] case in the sentence "We saw her."

Full 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 2a
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 2c
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

Other Words from subjective

Adjective

subjectively adverb
subjectiveness 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 To be sure, the awarding of medals is a subjective matter. Jonathan M. Pitts, baltimoresun.com, 11 Nov. 2020 It’s a body of work that’s simultaneously objective and subjective, in which Maier is both the author and a recurrent, ambiguous protagonist who lends the entire undertaking a kind of self-referential weight. Jeremy Lybarger, The New Republic, 21 Dec. 2021 Pandemic dreams are subject to these old problems: isolating the effects of dreaming from those of sleep, accessing an experience that’s purely subjective and quickly forgotten. New York Times, 3 Nov. 2021 The definition of salumi is subjective and evolving, and producers are stretching the old boundaries. Katie Workman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Oct. 2021 Of course, national championships are the ultimate goal, but with 130 FBS teams chasing the same thing, the end goal for teams can be subjective and a little more conceptual. Joseph Hoyt, Dallas News, 24 Sep. 2021 The coalition said those factors are subjective and unfair because they’re linked to race, class, language ability, and disability status. BostonGlobe.com, 18 Mar. 2021 Like White Castle and uni and pineapple on pizza, truffles are both subjective and divisive. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, 16 Mar. 2021 Of course, like any year-end rundown, our Best Albums of 2021 is subjective, and the EW music staff was forced to make some extremely tough calls (sorry, Lucy Dacus, Dawn Richard, and Mach-Hommy). Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, 8 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Though famed as a regional pictorialist, her writing seems remarkably modern in its incorporation of the subjective and eroticism into narratives. John Hopewell, Variety, 10 Sep. 2021 But Ryan Germany, the general counsel in Raffensperger's office, said if the state doesn't switch from a subjective to an objective way of verifying absentee ballots, election officials could become targets, as some were after November. Quinn Scanlan, ABC News, 20 Feb. 2021

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

Learn More About subjective

Time Traveler for subjective

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near subjective

subjectional

subjective

subjective complement

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Statistics for subjective

Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Subjective.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subjective. Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for subjective

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

More from Merriam-Webster on subjective

Nglish: Translation of subjective for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of subjective for Arabic Speakers

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