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
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
That order, the subject of the 4th Circuit ruling, removed Iraq from the list, deleted references to religion and added national security rationales for the policy.
But, Judge Stout agreed with Wright's rationale of Coan's extreme indifference for human life.
Eventually, the bullet train would use the same electrical system and the same tracks, creating a rationale for the high-speed rail authority paying a large chuck of the cost.
The rationale for SB4 was similar to Arizona's S.B. 1070 anti-immigration bill - to ensure public safety and not target specific groups.
The order removed Iraq from the list, deleted references to religion and added national security rationales for the policy.
When the rationale for war failed to pan out because weapons of mass destruction were not found in Iraq, Blair's popularity faded badly after a string of election victories.
Mr. Brzezinski’s rationale for the rescue attempt was, perhaps inevitably, rooted in his preoccupation with Soviet influence.
Cheney’s rationale: Saddam was angling to get international sanctions lifted.
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
First Known Use: 1657See Words from the same year
RATIONALE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of rationale for English Language Learners
: the reason or explanation for something
RATIONALE Defined for Kids
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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