rationalize

verb
ra·​tio·​nal·​ize | \ ˈrash-nə-ˌlīz How to pronounce rationalize (audio) , ˈra-shə-nə-ˌlīz \
rationalized; rationalizing; rationalizes

Definition of rationalize

transitive verb

1 : to bring into accord with reason or cause something to seem reasonable: such as
a : to substitute a natural for a supernatural explanation of rationalize a myth
b : to attribute (one's actions) to rational and creditable motives without analysis of true and especially unconscious motives rationalized his dislike of his brother broadly : to create an excuse or more attractive explanation for rationalize the problem
2 : to free (a mathematical expression) from irrational parts rationalize a denominator
3 : to apply research-based managerial principles to (something, such as an industry or its operations) for increased productivity and efficiency

intransitive verb

: to provide plausible but untrue reasons for conduct

Other Words from rationalize

rationalizable \ ˌrash-​nə-​ˈlī-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce rationalize (audio) , ˌra-​shə-​nə-​ˈlī-​ \ adjective
rationalizer \ ˈrash-​nə-​ˌlī-​zər How to pronounce rationalize (audio) , ˈra-​shə-​nə-​ˌlī-​ \ noun, plural rationalizers

Examples of rationalize in a Sentence

She tried to rationalize her grandson's strange behavior by blaming it on the boy's father. He couldn't rationalize buying such an expensive car. She knows she shouldn't have done it—she's just trying to rationalize. Management is thinking of ways to rationalize our system of production.
Recent Examples on the Web Companies rationalize this as control and risk reduction. Jason Gould, Forbes, 6 May 2022 Those left behind fill it with stories that aspire to rationalize their ultimately unfathomable plight. Andrew Solomon, The New Yorker, 4 Apr. 2022 His reputation was shredded in right-wing forums, where he was accused of being an FBI informant, the only way many militants could rationalize his not being charged. Hannah Allam, Anchorage Daily News, 15 Jan. 2022 Even for petrostates, however, the spreadsheet is increasingly difficult to rationalize. The New Yorker, 18 Mar. 2022 Banks need to rationalize use cases aligned to their strategies across both short-term and long-term horizons. Sudhir Pai, Forbes, 15 Mar. 2022 These dynamics also push participants to rationalize things that are made into obvious red flags for viewers. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 5 Mar. 2022 The State Department issued a fact sheet last month, highlighting five themes Russia has been trying to refine and peddle in its disinformation campaign to rationalize its own actions in Ukraine. Nicole Sganga, CBS News, 4 Feb. 2022 That Hewitt uttered that line without irony is a telling window into how conservatives have found ways to rationalize Trump and his fundamentally anti-democratic attempts to undermine the faith of the American public in the 2020 election results. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 10 Dec. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of rationalize

1665, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for rationalize

Time Traveler

The first known use of rationalize was in 1665

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Dictionary Entries Near rationalize

rationalization

rationalize

rational number

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Statistics for rationalize

Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Rationalize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rationalize. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for rationalize

rationalize

verb
ra·​tio·​nal·​ize | \ ˈra-shə-nə-ˌlīz How to pronounce rationalize (audio) \
rationalized; rationalizing

Kids Definition of rationalize

: to find an excuse for something that seems reasonable or believable He tried to rationalize his foolish purchase.

rationalize

verb
ra·​tio·​nal·​ize
variants: also British rationalise \ ˈrash-​nə-​ˌlīz, -​ən-​ᵊl-​ˌīz How to pronounce rationalize (audio) \
rationalized also British rationalised; rationalizing also British rationalising

Medical Definition of rationalize

transitive verb

: to bring into accord with reason or cause something to seem reasonable especially : to attribute (one's actions) to rational and creditable motives without analysis of true and especially unconscious motives he tried to rationalize his cruel behavior

intransitive verb

: to provide plausible but untrue reasons for conduct

Other Words from rationalize

rationalizer also British rationaliser \ -​ər How to pronounce rationalize (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on rationalize

Nglish: Translation of rationalize for Spanish Speakers

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