Printable Version
Pronunciation: ahb-jek-tiv Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective, noun

Meaning: 1. Real, actual, based on observable facts, not dependent on opinion or the mind. 2. Impartial, unbiased, free of personal feelings and opinions. 3. (Grammar) Related to the object of a verb or preposition: 'the objective case'. 4. (Noun) Goal, end, purpose. 5. (Optics) The lens which reads the light from an object and converts it into an image of the object.

Notes: This word is the antonym of subjective "Partial, biased by personal opinion". The adverb is objectively and the abstract noun, objectivity. Objectivism is the quality of objectivity, or it may refer to a literary theory of the 1930s which assumed poems to be objects susceptible to structural analysis.

In Play: Pure objectivity is an elusive goal; total exclusion of subjectivity is an impossibility: "In the absence of infallibly objective observers, judging competence is inevitably a hit and miss affair." However, since we know what it is, some people come closer to it than others: "Television news is a far cry from objective observation."

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from French, the feminine form of objectif, objective. French inherited the word from Late Latin objectivus, which also produced Italian obiettivo and Portuguese and Spanish objetivo. The Latin original comprises object "object" + -ivus, an adjective suffix. Object is made up of ob "in front of, against" + iacere "to throw". Latin inherited iacere from a suffixed from of PIE ye- "to throw", seen in the English borrowings jet, jetsam, jut and all the Latinate borrowings on -ject like eject and -jac, like subjacent. The Romance languages seem to be the only modern languages to have preserved this PIE word. We only find it otherwise in the ancient languages. (A word of thanks to Devashni Vedanta of South Africa would be the objective move at this point for his sharing today's Good Word with us.)

Dr. Goodword,

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