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

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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

Such a state of affairs lends itself to lines of thinking that are at once conspiratorial and completely rational. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Domino's Pizza-Spotting App Is a Window Into a Future of Justified Paranoia," 20 Feb. 2019 His arrival coincided with the flowering of the Scottish Enlightenment, a vigorous offshoot of the European intellectual movement that championed rational thought and questioned the exercise of unjustified authority. Stephen Brumwell, WSJ, "‘Rush’ and ‘Dr. Benjamin Rush’ Review: American Hippocrates," 20 Sep. 2018 Germans were not rational individuals with interests, the reasoning went, but members of a tribe that wanted to follow a leader (Führer). Timothy Snyder, New York Times, "How Did the Nazis Gain Power in Germany?," 14 June 2018 So far this year, the NRA has spent $337,000 to oppose Democrats, and zero dollars in support The NRA's campaign spending is just one aspect of its decades-long assault on rational American firearms policy. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "'Thoughts and prayers' and fistfuls of NRA money: Why America can't control guns (a grim update)," 15 Feb. 2018 At the same time, independent voters and Trump Democrats may rebuke mealy-mouthed open borders types in favor of candidates who want both to legalize the Dreamers and to reform immigration law in a rational manner. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "The Missing Democratic Agenda," 13 Jan. 2018 But what rational people should do with this information is much less certain. Jim Prevor, WSJ, "Lettuce Try Not to Panic," 29 Nov. 2018 Most people are not highly attuned to political events and use various cognitive shortcuts to help them make rational choices while voting, anyway. Jennifer Victor, Vox, "What good are elections, anyway?," 30 Oct. 2018 The consensus opinion among rational people on Saturday’s disqualification is that if the stewards had found that Bolt D’Oro initiated contact with McKinzie at the top of the stretch then the result would have stood with McKinzie the winner. John Cherwa, latimes.com, "Racing! One last look back at the weekend," 15 Mar. 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for rational

Last Updated

10 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for rational

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

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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

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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

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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

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