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 Julia Galef, host of the Rationally Speaking podcast and co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, is not impressed with the hyper-rational Vulcans on Star Trek. Geek's Guide To The Galaxy, WIRED, "Turns Out, Spock Is Kinda Bad at Logic," 16 Apr. 2021 The new lawsuit holds the potential to bring about more rational immigration policies. Stuart Anderson, Forbes, "Lawsuit Challenges Biden Administration Covid-19 Visa Policies," 12 Apr. 2021 In a recent study, researchers found that people who viewed their social media feed while in an emotional mindset were significantly more likely to share misinformation than those who went in with a more rational state of mind. H. Colleen Sinclair, The Conversation, "7 ways to avoid becoming a misinformation superspreader," 18 Mar. 2021 While far from perfect, cautious regulation is a far more rational response than total prohibition. Zachary Siegel, The New Republic, "How America Segregates Drug Use," 15 Mar. 2021 System 2, meanwhile, is invoked for more complex, thoughtful reasoning — it is characterized by slower, more rational analysis but is prone to laziness and fatigue. New York Times, "This Book Is Not About Baseball. But Baseball Teams Swear by It.," 24 Feb. 2021 One important attempt was David Levy’s book chapter on rational choice in the Homeric epics. Alexander William Salter, National Review, "Is Economics a Liberal Art?," 31 Mar. 2021 On the flip side, seeing people selfishly risk the lives of others by refusing to obey rational precautions is understanding that humans are indeed a flawed species. Star Tribune Staff, Star Tribune, "What are you going to do when the pandemic is over? These Minnesotans know," 30 Mar. 2021 Buffett looks for companies whose managers behave like business owners and act in a rational way, especially in the treatment of retained earnings and the investment of company profits. Charles Rotblut, Forbes, "Never Bet Against America: Buffett’s Screening Strategy," 11 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Much of the rational of the calls to expand the court came from the fact that former President Donald Trump had appointed three justices, shifting the balance. Peter Suciu, Forbes, "Social Media Debate: To Pack Or Not To Pack The Supreme Court," 15 Apr. 2021 No physics model—not even the most complex, nonlocal cellular automaton--can capture my rational and, yes, emotional motives for believing in free will, but that doesn’t mean these motives lack causal power. John Horgan, Scientific American, "Quantum Mechanics, Free Will and the Game of Life," 14 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for rational

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for rational

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rational.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rational. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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 rational (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 rational (audio) \ noun
rationally adverb

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Comments on rational

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