rationale

play
noun ra·tio·nale \ ˌra-shə-ˈnal \

Definition of rationale

1 :an explanation of controlling principles of opinion, belief, practice, or phenomena
2 :an underlying reason :basis

rationale was our Word of the Day on 02/27/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of rationale in a Sentence

  1. the rationale for starting the school day an hour later is that kids will supposedly get an extra hour of sleep

Recent Examples of rationale from the Web

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

Did You Know?

The word rationale appeared in the second half of the 17th century, just in time for the Age of Reason. It is based on the Latin ratio, which means "reason," and rationalis, which means "endowed with reason." At first, rationale meant "an explanation of controlling principles" ("a rationale of religious practices," for example), but soon it began to refer to the underlying reason for something (as in "the rationale for her behavior"). The latter meaning is now the most common use of the term. The English word ratio can also mean "underlying reason" (in fact, it had this meaning before rationale did), but in current use, that word more often refers to the relationship (in number, quantity, or degree) between things.

Origin and Etymology of rationale

Latin, neuter of rationalis


RATIONALE Defined for English Language Learners

rationale

play
noun

Definition of rationale for English Language Learners

  • : the reason or explanation for something


RATIONALE Defined for Kids

rationale

play
noun ra·tio·nale \ ˌra-shə-ˈnal \

Definition of rationale for Students

:a basic explanation or reason for something
  • What is the rationale behind your decision?


Seen and Heard

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