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[suh b-jek-tiv] /səbˈdʒɛk tɪv/
existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought (opposed to objective).
pertaining to or characteristic of an individual; personal; individual:
a subjective evaluation.
placing excessive emphasis on one's own moods, attitudes, opinions, etc.; unduly egocentric.
Philosophy. relating to or of the nature of an object as it is known in the mind as distinct from a thing in itself.
relating to properties or specific conditions of the mind as distinguished from general or universal experience.
pertaining to the subject or substance in which attributes inhere; essential.
  1. pertaining to or constituting the subject of a sentence.
  2. (in English and certain other languages) noting a case specialized for that use, as He in He hit the ball.
  3. similar to such a case in meaning.
    Compare nominative.
Obsolete. characteristic of a political subject; submissive.
Origin of subjective
1400-50; late Middle English: pertaining to a subject of a ruler < Latin subjectīvus; see subject, -ive
Related forms
subjectively, adverb
subjectiveness, noun
nonsubjective, adjective
nonsubjectively, adverb
nonsubjectiveness, noun
quasi-subjective, adjective
quasi-subjectively, adverb
unsubjective, adjective
unsubjectively, adverb
1. mental. 6. substantial, inherent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for subjective
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This was the subjective which corresponded to the objective 'All is flux.'

    Theaetetus Plato
  • There are three subjective principles of morals,—sympathy, benevolence, self-love.

    Philebus Plato
  • No one saw that this objective was really a subjective, and involved the subjectivity of all knowledge.

    Timaeus Plato
  • But the ideas themselves are not subjective, and therefore are not within our ken.'

    Parmenides Plato
  • This it is not; it has an objective existence, but no subjective.

    Essays, Second Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
British Dictionary definitions for subjective


belonging to, proceeding from, or relating to the mind of the thinking subject and not the nature of the object being considered
of, relating to, or emanating from a person's emotions, prejudices, etc: subjective views
relating to the inherent nature of a person or thing; essential
existing only as perceived and not as a thing in itself
(med) (of a symptom, condition, etc) experienced only by the patient and incapable of being recognized or studied by anyone else
(grammar) denoting a case of nouns and pronouns, esp in languages having only two cases, that identifies the subject of a finite verb and (in formal use in English) is selected for predicate complements, as in It is I See also nominative (sense 1)
  1. the subjective case
  2. a subjective word or speech element
Compare objective (sense 10)
Derived Forms
subjectively, adverb
subjectivity, subjectiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for subjective

mid-15c., "pertaining to a political subject" (now obsolete), from Late Latin subjectivus, from subjectus (see subject (n.)). Meaning "existing in the mind" (mind="the thinking subject") is from 1707; thus, "personal idiosyncratic" (1767). Related: Subjectively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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subjective in Medicine

subjective sub·jec·tive (səb-jěk'tĭv)

  1. Of, relating to, or designating a symptom or condition perceived by the patient and not by the examiner.

  2. Existing only in the mind; illusory.

sub·jec'tive·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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