rationalize

play
verb ra·tio·nal·ize \ ˈrash-nə-ˌlīz , ˈra-shə-nə-ˌlīz \

Definition of rationalize

rationalized; rationalizing
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 the principles of scientific management to (something, such as an industry or its operations) for a desired result (such as increased efficiency)
intransitive verb
:to provide plausible but untrue reasons for conduct

rationalizable

play \ˌrash-nə-ˈlī-zə-bəl, ˌra-shə-nə-ˈlī-\ adjective

rationalization

play \ˌrash-nə-lə-ˈzā-shən, ˌra-shə-nə-lə-\ noun

rationalizer

play \ˈrash-nə-ˌlī-zər, ˈra-shə-nə-ˌlī-\ noun

Examples of rationalize in a Sentence

  1. She tried to rationalize her grandson's strange behavior by blaming it on the boy's father.

  2. He couldn't rationalize buying such an expensive car.

  3. She knows she shouldn't have done it—she's just trying to rationalize.

  4. Management is thinking of ways to rationalize our system of production.

Recent Examples of rationalize from the Web

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

rationalize Synonyms


RATIONALIZE Defined for English Language Learners

rationalize

play
verb

Definition of rationalize for English Language Learners

  • : to think about or describe something (such as bad behavior) in a way that explains it and makes it seem proper, more attractive, etc.

  • : to find ways to make (something, such as an industry, a company, etc.) waste less time, effort, and money


RATIONALIZE Defined for Kids

rationalize

play
verb ra·tio·nal·ize \ ˈra-shə-nə-ˌlīz \

Definition of rationalize for Students

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

Medical Dictionary

rationalize

verb ra·tio·nal·ize
variants: also British rationalise play \ˈrash-nə-ˌlīz, -ən-ᵊl-ˌīz\

medical Definition of rationalize

rationalized also British rationalised; rationalizing also British rationalising
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

rationalizer

also British rationaliser play \-ər\ noun


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