Objective Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

It is the objective of this guide to give you an objective look into the meaning of objective with definitions, origins, synonyms, examples, and more.

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Words that we use everyday can have multiple meanings, and it’s important that we explore all the meanings of the words we use to be sure that our intentions aren’t confused by the audience when we speak or write. To fully understand the meanings of words, it’s imperative that we go beyond the simple definitions to learn more about the history of the word, how it’s used, and examples of similar and opposite words to gain a comprehensive understanding of a word.

What Is the Definition of the Word Objective?

According to the dictionary, the word objective is pronounced ob-jec-tive, and it is both a noun and an adjective. Each has multiple definitions as well. To understand the word completely, we must learn each definition. 

Objective as a Noun

Objective has three definitions as a noun. 

First, an objective is something that a person’s efforts or actions are intended to accomplish or attain. 


  • The prime objective of this article is to teach you the meaning of this word.
  • In the game of “Capture the Flag,” it is your team’s objective to capture the other team’s flag before they capture yours.

Secondly, an objective in grammar is also called the objective case of nouns and refers to the case specialized for the use of a form to act as the object of a transitive verb or of a preposition. 

Objective could also be used as a noun for a word that is in the objective case or the direct object of a finite verb. It is abbreviated as obj.


  • In the sentence, “The girl chose her.”, the word “her” is the objective.
  • The word me is the objective in the sentence, “Please pass me the football.”

Lastly, as a noun, an objective is the lens of a telescope, microscope, camera, or another optical system that uses a lens or a combination of lenses to first receive the rays from the object. 

The objective or system of lenses forms the image of the object with light rays for the optical device in the focal plane of the eyepiece or on a plate or screen. It is also called the object lens, the objective lens, or the object glass.


  • The objective of the microscope allows us to see the image of the amoeba.

Objective as an Adjective

As an adjective, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, the word objective has several definitions. 

Objective can describe a specific target of the action. 


  • Capturing the flag is the objective point of this game.

Objective can describe the intent upon dealing with events or things that are external to the mind. This is in opposition to when thoughts and feelings are used. This could be an actual phenomenon or external phenomena. The immediate experience of actual things is an objective reality.


  • There is plenty of objective evidence to support the claim.

In grammar, objective is the adjective that describes the objective case of pronouns when a word is used as the object of a transitive verb. This is also used in elliptical constructions as the subject of a gerund, or in the informal use or nonstandard use as a predicate complement.


  • The word “her” is in the objective case in the sentence, “Please have him show her the slides from class.”
  • The question, “Who me?” puts the word me in the objective case.

Additionally, as an adjective, the word objective can be used to describe something as being part of or pertaining to an object that is being drawn like in an optical instrument like through the lenses of a camera. It can refer to the primary optical element, the optics, the perceptions, or the image on the projector screen.


  • The objective system of lenses helps scientists take an actual phenomenon and make it an observable phenomena.

In medicine, the word objective describes disease symptoms that are discernible to the patient and others.


  • A fever is an objective sign of infection.

What Is the Etymology of the Word Objective?

Etymology is the origin story of a word. Modern English objective comes from about the early 17th century when it meant “considered in relation to its object.” Before that, the roots can be traced to the English object and Medieval Latin objectivus.

The Medieval Latin objectīvus can be traced back to the Medieval Latin objectum.

As a military term, an objective was first used as a noun somewhere around 1852 to 1881.

How Do We Use the Word Objective?

Objective is a fairly common word in our everyday language, and we use it in a variety of ways.

For example, when you start a class, your professor may give you a list of objectives that he hopes will be accomplished. 

You may be asked for your objective opinion which means that the person wants you to view the situation without a personal bias and without the distortion of personal feelings. 

An objective statement will be free from the insertion of a fictional matter.

What Are Synonyms for the Word Objective?

Synonyms are words that have a similar meaning to the subject word. The word can either be a noun or an adjective, and both have synonyms.

Synonyms as a Noun

Given the definitions of objective as a noun, here are some synonyms for the word objective:

  • Ambition
  • Aspiration
  • Target
  • Purpose
  • Mission
  • Intention

It is common as a noun to use objective to describe the object of thought.

Synonyms as an Adjective

Given the definitions of objective as an adjective, here are some synonyms for the word objective:

  • Dispassionate
  • Disinterested
  • Cold
  • Equitable
  • Fair
  • Impartial
  • Unbiased
  • Open-minded
  • Unprejudiced

What Are Antonyms for the Word Objective?

Antonyms are words that have the opposite meaning of a subject word. While objective is both a noun and an adjective, it only has antonyms in the form of an adjective.

Antonyms as an Adjective

Given the definitions of objective as an adjective, here are some antonyms for the word objective:

  • Biased
  • Interested
  • Passionate
  • Prejudice
  • Subjective
  • Interested
  • Partial
  • Unfair

Examples of How To Use the Word Objective

Example sentences help us learn how to use a word in context. When you have multiple definitions of a word, it can help to see the word in action in a variety of ways to understand the differences. Here are a few examples of the word objective:

  • The telescope’s objective is not calibrated correctly.
  • The sole object of her trip was to relax. This is an objective.
  • The Vulcan’s lack of emotion made them a perfect objective third party.
  • Please provide an objective example on the subject.
  • A seizure is an objective symptom.
  • Our short-term and long-term attainable goals are based on our business objectives.
  • The internet is full of objective information.
  • The objective benefits of the experiment were immediate.

The Last Word

Even when you’ve used a word for a long time, it can still be beneficial to brush up on the definition of the word, learn about alternative definitions, and examine examples of other ways to use the word. This ensures that you’re using the word correctly, and it may even broaden your use of the word and increase your confidence when you speak or write the word.


  1. OBJECTIVE | Cambridge English Dictionary 
  2. American Heritage Dictionary Entry: objective | AH Dictionary
  3. Customary IHL – Practice Relating to Rule 8. Definition of Military Objectives | ihl-databases.icrc.org