be·​cause | \ bi-ˈkȯz How to pronounce because (audio) , -ˈkəz How to pronounce because (audio) , -ˈkȯs, bē- \

Definition of because

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : for the reason that : since rested because he was tired
2 : the fact that : that The reason I haven't been fired is because my boss hasn't got round to it yet.— E. B. White



Definition of because (Entry 2 of 2)

: by reason of : because of But the Conservatives voted against the amendment—because politics. And so did the Liberals.— Michael Spratt often used in a humorous way to convey vagueness about the exact reasons for something A slow thaw is the best thaw. Drastic temperature changes mess with the molecules in food, you know, because science.Bon AppétitMuch like most of the books I read back then [as a child], things were presented as is, and you didn't really question it. Yes, … that dog is the size of a house, because reasons?— Briana Lawrence

Synonyms for because

Synonyms: Conjunction

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Can you begin a sentence with because? Yes, and the reason is because . . .

Because has been the subject of a number of quibbles relating to its grammar and usage. Two of the more common ones are the notion that a sentence should never begin with because and the idea that the phrase “the reason is because” is somehow improper.

Although the construction appears to be more common in magazine and newspaper writing than in formal prose, beginning a sentence with because is both acceptable and widespread.

The prohibition against “the reason is because” is rooted partly in the idea that it is redundant (that is, akin to writing “the reason is for the reason that”). However, because may have the meaning “that” when it introduces a clause that functions as a noun in a sentence ("What is the reason for your delay?" "It is because my car broke down."). There is considerable evidence of this sort of use among some of our language’s most celebrated writers going back at least as far as the 16th century.

Examples of because in a Sentence

Conjunction I ran because I was afraid. “Why did you do it?” “Because she told me to.”

First Known Use of because


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


2012, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for because


Middle English because that, because, from by cause that

Learn More About because

Time Traveler for because

Time Traveler

The first known use of because was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near because



because of

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for because

Cite this Entry

“Because.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for because


be·​cause | \ bi-ˈkȯz How to pronounce because (audio) , -ˈkəz \

Kids Definition of because

: for the reason that I ran because I was scared.
because of
: for the reason of The game was canceled because of rain.

More from Merriam-Webster on because

Nglish: Translation of because for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of because for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!