It is crucial to monitor intracellular pH values and their fluctuation since the organelles of cells have different pH distribution. Herein we construct a new small molecule fluorescent probe HBT-O for monitoring the subtle pH values within the scope of neutral to acid in living cells. The probe exhibited good water solubility, a marked turquoise to olivine emission color change in response to pH, and tremendous fluorescence hypochromatic shift of similar to 50 nm (1718 cm(-1)) as well as the increased fluorescence intensity when the pH value changed from neutral to acid. Thus, the probe HBT-O can distinguish the subtle changes in the range of normal pH values from neutral to acid with significant fluorescence changes. These properties can be attributed to the intramolecular charge transfer (ICT) process of the probe upon protonation in buffer solutions at varied pH values. Moreover, the probe was reversible and nearly non-toxic for living cells. Then the probe was successfully used to detect pH fluctuation in living cells by exhibiting different fluorescence colors and intensity. These findings demonstrate that the probe will find useful applications in biology and biomedical research.