Dictionary

rationalize

verb ra·tio·nal·ize \ˈrash-nə-ˌlīz, ˈra-shə-nə-ˌlīz\

: to think about or describe something (such as bad behavior) in a way that explains it and makes it seem proper, more attractive, etc.

: to find ways to make (something, such as an industry, a company, etc.) waste less time, effort, and money

ra·tio·nal·izedra·tio·nal·iz·ing

Full Definition of RATIONALIZE

transitive verb
1
:  to bring into accord with reason or cause something to seem reasonable: as
a :  to substitute a natural for a supernatural explanation of <rationalize a myth>
b :  to attribute (one's actions) to rational and creditable motives without analysis of true and especially unconscious motives <rationalized his dislike of his brother> ; broadly :  to create an excuse or more attractive explanation for <rationalize the problem>
2
:  to free (a mathematical expression) from irrational parts <rationalize a denominator>
3
:  to apply the principles of scientific management to (as an industry or its operations) for a desired result (as increased efficiency)
intransitive verb
:  to provide plausible but untrue reasons for conduct
ra·tio·nal·iz·able \ˌrash-nə-ˈlī-zə-bəl, ˌra-shə-nə-ˈlī-\ adjective
ra·tio·nal·i·za·tion \ˌrash-nə-lə-ˈzā-shən, ˌra-shə-nə-lə-\ noun
ra·tio·nal·iz·er \ˈrash-nə-ˌlī-zər, ˈra-shə-nə-ˌlī-\ noun

Examples of RATIONALIZE

  1. She tried to rationalize her grandson's strange behavior by blaming it on the boy's father.
  2. He couldn't rationalize buying such an expensive car.
  3. She knows she shouldn't have done it—she's just trying to rationalize.
  4. Management is thinking of ways to rationalize our system of production.

First Known Use of RATIONALIZE

1803

rationalize

verb ra·tio·nal·ize   (Medical Dictionary)
ra·tio·nal·ized also British ra·tio·nal·isedra·tio·nal·iz·ing also British ra·tio·nal·is·ing

Medical Definition of RATIONALIZE

transitive verb
:  to bring into accord with reason or cause something to seem reasonable; especially :  to attribute (one's actions) to rational and creditable motives without analysis of true and especially unconscious motives <he tried to rationalize his cruel behavior>
intransitive verb
:  to provide plausible but untrue reasons for conduct
ra·tio·nal·iz·er also British ra·tio·nal·is·er \-ər\ noun

Variants of RATIONALIZE

ra·tio·nal·ize also British ra·tio·nal·ise \ˈrash-nə-ˌlīz, -ən-əl-ˌīz\

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