Subjective Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

Do you know the meaning of subjective? Don’t worry, we’ve got the 411! Read on to learn the definition of subjective, its origins, synonyms, and more.

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You may have heard the famous saying “all experience is subjective,” but do you know what subjective means? Not to worry — we’ll tell you. 

In this article, you will discover everything you need to know about the word subjective, including its definition, origin, synonyms, antonyms, usage examples, and more. 

What Is the Definition of Subjective?

Simply put, subjective means something that is based on personal feelings and opinions. If you had a “subjective” thought, that thought would be based upon personal beliefs and feelings rather than facts.

However, there are many other definitions and common usages to “subjective” than that one. According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, the word subjective has many applications, from psychology and philosophy all the way to medicine.

How Can We Use the Word Subjective?

The adjective subjective can also be seen in many psychology texts. In psychology, subjective is defined as introspective (originating or existing within the observer’s mind and in turn incapable of being verified by others), as per Collins English Dictionary.

When in relation to medicine (e.g., a subjective symptom of a disease), subjective is used as an adjective to define arising conditions within your own sense organs or brain and not directly caused by external stimuli. 

Another walk of life we see subjective used commonly is in a philosophical sense. 

Here, subjective means relating to the essential being of that which has substance, attributes, tastes, relations, or attributes. Essentially, it means to be known through senses rather than as independent of the mind. German philosopher Immanuel Kant helped popularize this definition with his teachings in the late 1700s.

Subjective can be used as either an adjective or noun. When used as a noun, the word describes a subjective object or interpretation, such as a memory, a recap of events, or even a political message. 

What Are the Best Practices for Subjective Writing?

While you may have heard the old saying “there is a time and place for everything,” the same goes for every type of writing. Be it short stories, essays, non-fiction, or fiction — there is a time and place for all types of writing; the same can be said for subjective writing. 

Subjective writing offers assumptions on topics rather than informed answers. It can also easily be identified by its coded language, AKA words that carry heavy or suggestive undertones outside of the evidence provided.

This style of writing relies on the author to deliver a piece of information through their own interpretations of events rather than information from credible sources.

Below we have included a list of different subjective writing mediums to help you better understand the definition behind subjective:

  • Advice columns
  • Biographies
  • Spiritual or theological publications
  • Literary criticism
  • Personal journaling
  • Art and entertainment reviews
  • Opinion articles
  • Product reviews (e.g., Amazon reviews or Yelp!)
  • Creative writing (e.g., fiction, poetry, etc.)

What Is the Origin of Subjective?

The etymology of a word lets us study its origin as well as how its meanings have changed throughout the course of time. By studying the history behind a word, we can better understand its definition. 

The word subjective (c. 1500) originates from Late Middle English, meaning “submissive to a ruler.” Its Latin root word is subjectivus (as in a subject “brought under”). Originally, the adjective was meant to be used as a characteristic of someone who is obedient or submissive. 

It was not until much later in the 1700s that the German philosopher Immanuel Kant and the thinkers of his time popularized the more common definition that we use today. Kant and his contemporaries defined “subjective” as something “existing in the mind.”

Antonyms and Synonyms of Subjective

When we learn new words and definitions, learning their synonyms and antonyms helps to strengthen our understanding of these new words. 

Synonyms are words that have the same or nearly the same meaning as another word. Alternatively, antonyms are the opposite of these, as they are words that have the opposite meaning of the original word.

Symptoms of subjective include:

  • Personal
  • Prejudices
  • Unobjective
  • Unverifiable
  • Person’s feelings
  • Emotional
  • Intuitive
  • Person’s emotions
  • Personal Taste
  • Nonobjective
  • Own Interpretation

Antonyms of subjective include:

  • General
  • Mainstream
  • Generic
  • Levelheaded
  • Blanket
  • Impersonal
  • Mass
  • Global
  • Objective
  • Nondiscriminatory
  • Neutral

Examples of Subjective in a Sentence

Now that we have a firm grasp on the definition of subjective, let’s review a few example sentences:

While this may be subjective, I think the best publisher around is HarperCollins Publishers!

When reviewing my paper, I would appreciate it if you used objective judgment as opposed to subjective judgment.

Okay, but honestly, to me, this is not subjective by any means.

That is clearly a subjective point — do you know the difference?

Clearly, these are subjective judgments rather than objective ones.

The play’s ratings were based on the subjective judgment of two people.

Did you know subject pronouns simply refer to pronouns that act as the subject of a sentence?

There are separate objective and subjective variables in play here.

My teacher said they consider both objective criteria such as test scores and subjective criteria, such as leadership ability.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is a reference that beauty is a subjective quality, would you agree?


In conclusion, the word subjective can be used as a noun or adjective to describe something that is influenced by or perhaps based around a person’s own beliefs, feelings, and experiences rather than credible sources and facts. 


  1. Subjective definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary
  2. SUBJECTIVE | definition in the | Cambridge English Dictionary
  3. Subjective synonyms – 572 Words and Phrases for Subjective | Power Thesaurus