rea·​son | \ ˈrē-zᵊn How to pronounce reason (audio) \

Definition of reason

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a statement offered in explanation or justification gave reasons that were quite satisfactory
b : a rational ground or motive a good reason to act soon
c : the thing that makes some fact intelligible : cause the reason for earthquakes the real reason why he wanted me to stay— Graham Greene
d : a sufficient ground of explanation or of logical defense especially : something (such as a principle or law) that supports a conclusion or explains a fact the reasons behind her client's action
2a(1) : the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways : intelligence
(2) : proper exercise of the mind
(3) : sanity
b : the sum of the intellectual powers
3 archaic : treatment that affords satisfaction
in reason within reason
: within reasonable limits
with reason
: with good cause


reasoned; reasoning\ ˈrēz-​niŋ How to pronounce reasoning (audio) , ˈrē-​zᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of reason (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to use the faculty of reason so as to arrive at conclusions
2a : to talk with another so as to influence actions or opinions can't reason with them
b obsolete : to take part in conversation, discussion, or argument

transitive verb

1 : to discover, formulate, or conclude by the use of reason a carefully reasoned analysis
2 : to persuade or influence by the use of reason
3 archaic : to justify or support with reasons

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Other Words from reason


reasoner \ ˈrēz-​nər How to pronounce reasoner (audio) , ˈrē-​zᵊn-​ər \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for reason


think, cogitate, reflect, reason, speculate, deliberate mean to use one's powers of conception, judgment, or inference. think is general and may apply to any mental activity, but used alone often suggests attainment of clear ideas or conclusions. teaches students how to think cogitate implies deep or intent thinking. cogitated on the mysteries of nature reflect suggests unhurried consideration of something recalled to the mind. reflecting on fifty years of married life reason stresses consecutive logical thinking. able to reason brilliantly in debate speculate implies reasoning about things theoretical or problematic. speculated on the fate of the lost explorers deliberate suggests slow or careful reasoning before forming an opinion or reaching a conclusion or decision. the jury deliberated for five hours

Examples of reason in a Sentence

Noun I gave a reason for my absence. Is there a reason for your strange behavior? There is a reason why they don't want to come. I can't give you the report for the simple reason that it isn't yet finished. She explained her reasons for deciding to change jobs. He wanted to know the reason for their decision. Give me one good reason why I should believe you. For obvious reasons, we can't do that yet. For reasons of space, some of the charts and graphs have been omitted from the article. She resigned for personal reasons. Verb He lost the ability to reason. He reasoned that both statements couldn't be true. She reasoned that something must be wrong.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For whatever reason, my body just responds well that way. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "Trevor Bauer on start of MLB season: 3-4 week ramp up should be 'absolute minimum'," 16 Mar. 2020 But for some reason, other countries followed suit. John D'anna, azcentral, "Coronavirus in Arizona: One reporter's quest to understand why people are panic-buying toilet paper," 15 Mar. 2020 Another meaningful reason: How Americans choose their partners. Dan Kopf, Quartz at Work, "High-income people in the US keep marrying each other, and it’s exacerbating inequality," 14 Mar. 2020 For some reason, people want to debate that right now. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Coronavirus threat cancels Big Ten, NCAA tournaments. If we are overreacting, so be it.," 12 Mar. 2020 For this reason, any potential bailout should take into consideration which businesses and people are bearing the biggest costs, and target communities most exposed to the risk. Kevin Berry, The Conversation, "Coronavirus and tourism: Places like Alaska without a severe COVID-19 outbreak could still be devastated," 12 Mar. 2020 The reason for the referendum The referendum stems from the district's long-range master plan for facilities section of the district's strategic plan for 2018-21. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What to know about the proposed $55.7 million Mequon-Thiensville School District referendum," 11 Mar. 2020 Skateboarders migrated to the city en masse in the 1990s and early 2000s for the same reasons as artists: open minds, temperate weather and cheap rent. Gregory Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle, "Skate craft," 11 Mar. 2020 Perhaps for this reason, blacks are more likely to sympathize with poor and unemployed friends and relatives, and help out when possible. Helen Epstein, The New York Review of Books, "Left Behind," 10 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Harbaugh, it was reasoned, just didn't want to criticize an underperforming unit after a home win over a top-15 team. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football playing best football as behemoth Ohio State awaits," 26 Nov. 2019 Zaid knows that the people who push conspiracy theories usually can't be reasoned with or are either bad faith actors with no regard for the truth. Oliver Darcy, CNN, "'A little disinformation goes a long way': Inside the whistleblower lawyer's fight against attempts to smear him and his client," 18 Oct. 2019 Our time is running out, but that only makes your slow, methodical reasoning more exciting. Sarah Todd, Quartzy, "Guess the world’s best city for vegan-friendly dining! No, try again," 17 Oct. 2019 State lawmakers reasoned that if conventional vehicle owners were forced to pay more at the pump, the fees would make sure electric and hybrid vehicle owners paid more, too. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, "Ohio’s new $100 fee for hybrids and $200 fee for electric vehicles go into effect next week," 27 Dec. 2019 Try to reason with someone who is irrational, as becoming angry will only make matters worse. Magi Helena, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Dec. 14, 2019: Pisces, don’t let little things bug you; Virgo, put free time to good use," 14 Dec. 2019 Paul Volcker’s death last week marks the passing of an era, one of bipartisan sanity and reasoned restraint in the making of public policy. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: Paul Volcker — the right man for his times," 15 Dec. 2019 His exact meaning is difficult to ascertain, as is Philip’s reasoning for supporting Attalus’s very public insult of his current heir. National Geographic, "Alexander the Great's warrior mom wielded unprecedented power," 3 Dec. 2019 The call, Bolles reasoned, would not have shown up on his phone bill., "The story that haunted Don Bolles isn't the story most people think they know," 3 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reason.' 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 reason


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2b

History and Etymology for reason


Middle English resoun, from Anglo-French raisun, from Latin ration-, ratio reason, computation, from reri to calculate, think; probably akin to Goth rathjo account, explanation

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Time Traveler for reason

Time Traveler

The first known use of reason was in the 13th century

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Statistics for reason

Last Updated

19 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reason.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for reason


How to pronounce reason (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of reason

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a statement or fact that explains why something is the way it is, why someone does, thinks, or says something, or why someone behaves a certain way
: a fact, condition, or situation that makes it proper or appropriate to do something, feel something, etc.
: the power of the mind to think and understand in a logical way



English Language Learners Definition of reason (Entry 2 of 2)

: to think in a logical way
: to form (a conclusion or judgment) by thinking logically


rea·​son | \ ˈrē-zᵊn How to pronounce reason (audio) \

Kids Definition of reason

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a statement given to explain a belief or an act My parents gave a reason for my absence.
2 : a fact that makes something right or fair to do I have reasons for what I did.
3 : cause entry 1 sense 1 The child wanted to know the reason for rain.
4 : the power to think and understand in a logical way
5 : a fair and sensible way of thinking about something He won't listen to reason.


reasoned; reasoning

Kids Definition of reason (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to think in a logical way
2 : to talk with another in a sensible way so as to influence his or her actions or opinions “It's a fear you can't be … reasoned out of.”— Kate DiCamillo, Because of Winn-Dixie
3 : to state or ask logically How, I reasoned, could such a thing happen?



Legal Definition of reason

1 : an underlying ground, justification, purpose, motive, or inducement required to provide reasons for the termination in writing
2a : the faculty of comprehending, inferring, or distinguishing especially in a fair and orderly way
b : the proper and sane exercise of the mind

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