rational

adjective
ra·​tio·​nal | \ ˈrash-nəl How to pronounce rational (audio) , ˈra-shə-nᵊl \

Definition of rational

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : having reason or understanding
b : relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason : reasonable a rational explanation rational behavior
2 : involving only multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction and only a finite number of times
3 : relating to, consisting of, or being one or more rational numbers a rational root of an equation

rational

noun

Definition of rational (Entry 2 of 2)

: something rational specifically : rational number

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Other Words from rational

Adjective

rationally adverb
rationalness noun

Examples of rational in a Sentence

Adjective human beings are rational creatures insisted there was a rational explanation for the strange creaking noises and that there were no such things as ghosts
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The best way to nudge yourself into a more rational place is to try to understand how your thinking could be wrong. Star Tribune, "Worried you are falling behind a rising stock market? Fear a crash? Here's how to settle down," 13 Feb. 2021 During marathon hearings that were often contentious, Coats remembered Alito being rational and disciplined. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "'Not surprised': Justice Alito defends controversial speech as he marks 15 years on Supreme Court," 31 Jan. 2021 But most people in the COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy camp are more rational, more measured—informed enough not to believe the crazy talk, but worried enough not to want to be at the head of the line for a new vaccine. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "Too Many Americans Still Mistrust the COVID-19 Vaccines. Here's Why," 5 Jan. 2021 The saga is also further unraveling the notion that stock values are always rational. Whizy Kim, refinery29.com, "Why Everyone Is Talking About GameStop Stocks — Or Is It Stonks?," 28 Jan. 2021 The appeals court concluded that rational jurors could find that Higgs had the dominant role in the murders even though Haynes indisputably was the triggerman. Michael Kunzelman, ajc, "Man convicted in 3 killings to be last executed under Trump," 15 Jan. 2021 In fact, after watching psyche-testing sorrow and reality-denying anti-mask ignorance on TVs and phones, vanishing into extended therapeutic sessions with Nina Simone, Madlib or Kid Cudi felt like the only rational response. Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times, "Lose the earbuds. Ditch the phone. How to get the most out of your music," 14 Jan. 2021 Noting that the matter has been pending for nearly a year, Badeaux said the defendants had listed 74 rational reasons for the rezoning. Sara Pagones | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Judge tosses lawsuit challenging St. Tammany zoning change for medical distribution center," 12 Jan. 2021 For a country with 5% of the world’s population but 25% of its prisoners, finding safe and rational ways to alleviate the financial burden of mass incarceration should also be motivation. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Proposition 207, not Donald Trump, stirred the pot in the newly altered state of Arizona," 7 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun No physics model—not even the most complex, nonlocal cellular automaton--can capture my rational and, yes, emotional motives for believing in free will, but that doesn’t mean these motives lack causal power. John Horgan, Scientific American, "Quantum Mechanics, Free Will and the Game of Life," 14 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rational.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rational

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1601, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rational

Adjective

Middle English racional, from Anglo-French racionel, from Latin rationalis, from ration-, ratio

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Time Traveler for rational

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for rational

Last Updated

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rational.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rational. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for rational

rational

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of rational

: based on facts or reason and not on emotions or feelings
: having the ability to reason or think about things clearly

rational

adjective
ra·​tio·​nal | \ ˈra-shə-nᵊl How to pronounce rational (audio) \

Kids Definition of rational

1 : having the ability to reason Humans are rational creatures.
2 : based on or showing reason rational thinking a rational decision

Other Words from rational

rationally adverb

rational

adjective
ra·​tio·​nal | \ ˈrash-nəl, -ən-ᵊl How to pronounce rational (audio) \

Medical Definition of rational

1a : having reason or understanding
b : relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason a rational explanation rational behavior
2 : using medical treatments based on reason or general principles used especially of an ancient school of physicians — compare empirical sense 1a

Other Words from rational

rationally \ -​ē How to pronounce rational (audio) \ adverb

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rational

adjective
ra·​tio·​nal | \ ˈra-shə-nəl How to pronounce rational (audio) \

Legal Definition of rational

1 : having reason or understanding
2 : relating to, based on, or guided by reason, principle, fairness, logic, a legitimate state interest, or a consideration of fact age distinctions are not subject to strict scrutiny, but they must have a rational relationship to a legitimate state interestIn re J. M., 642 A.2d 1062 (1994)

Other Words from rational

rationality \ ˌra-​shə-​ˈna-​lə-​tē How to pronounce rational (audio) \ noun
rationally adverb

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Comments on rational

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