subjective

1 of 2

adjective

sub·​jec·​tive (ˌ)səb-ˈjek-tiv How to pronounce subjective (audio)
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
3
a
: 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
4
a(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
subjectively adverb
subjectiveness noun

subjective

2 of 2

noun

sub·​jec·​tive (ˌ)səb-ˈjek-tiv How to pronounce subjective (audio)
: something that is subjective
also : nominative

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Today’s daily digit A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10. David Streit, Washington Post, 27 June 2024 That understanding is not hopelessly subjective or indeterminate. Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, 25 June 2024
Noun
Given that any critic’s views are by their very nature subjective, the lists that follow don’t claim to be definitive or even directive. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Dec. 2022 Often called the Banksys of financial fudging and the van Goghs of offshoring pre-tax income to foreign countries, these middle-aged white men will nurture your flair for the subjective. Meghana Indurti, The New Yorker, 18 Mar. 2022 See all Example Sentences for subjective 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'subjective.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

see subject entry 1

Noun

see subject entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1817, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near subjective

Cite this Entry

“Subjective.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subjective. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

subjective

adjective
sub·​jec·​tive
(ˌ)səb-ˈjek-tiv
1
: of, relating to, or being a subject
2
: of, relating to, or arising within one's self or mind : personal
a subjective point of view
subjectively adverb
subjectivity
(ˌ)səb-ˌjek-ˈtiv-ət-ē
noun

Medical Definition

subjective

adjective
sub·​jec·​tive (ˌ)səb-ˈjek-tiv How to pronounce subjective (audio)
1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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 bothThe Journal of the American Medical Association
compare objective sense 2
subjectively adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on subjective

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!