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

Keep scrolling for more

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

That’s to say nothing of the company’s annual April Fool’s Day prank products, outrageous stunts that no rational company would devote a ton of energy and resources to undertake, even when everyone is in on the joke. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "ThinkGeek.com is shutting down and that’s a damn shame," 14 June 2019 In a rational world rising interest costs from this heavier debt load would encourage spending restraint. James Freeman, WSJ, "Time for a Trump Refi," 13 June 2019 That’s potentially a huge problem, as anyone who has tried to speak in coldly rational terms about a former lover can probably attest. Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post, "Scientists interviewed a bunch of people’s exes to confirm that, yes, you probably do have a ‘type’," 13 June 2019 People are instead rational agents maximizing their utility. Eshe Nelson, Quartz, "Economics needs to do more than attract women to solve its gender problem," 11 June 2019 As Bloomberg points out, Bumble is not expecting to turn a profit with its Soho restaurant, which might be the only rational assumption in this whole endeavor. Amanda Shapiro, Bon Appétit, "A Place to Date," 6 June 2019 This year was different because of the rampant skepticism across the conference, some of it even from the usually rational corners of the media. Ross Dellenger, SI.com, "The SEC Grapples With Officiating in the Age of Outrage," 5 June 2019 Not to worry though, the Game of Thrones star has come up with a perfectly rational way of coping with her concerns. Megan Mccluskey, Time, "Sophie Turner Has a Surprising Way to Cope With This Totally Rational Greatest Fear," 5 June 2019 Crucially, this renders it an internal responsibility, not a duty — not an order from God or state, but a natural right uncovered by the rational human being. Sahil Handa, National Review, "Seeking a Way Out of Our Modern Malaise," 4 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rational

Statistics for rational

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rational

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 rationally (audio) \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

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 rationality (audio) \ noun
rationally adverb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on rational

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rational

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rational

Spanish Central: Translation of rational

Nglish: Translation of rational for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rational for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rational

What made you want to look up rational? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

having a desire to acquire more things

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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