reason

1 of 2

noun

rea·​son ˈrē-zᵊn How to pronounce reason (audio)
1
a
: 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 stayGraham 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
2
a(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

reason

2 of 2

verb

reasoned; reasoning ˈrēz-niŋ How to pronounce reason (audio)
ˈrē-zᵊn-iŋ

intransitive verb

1
: to use the faculty of reason so as to arrive at conclusions
2
a
: 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
reasoner
ˈrēz-nər How to pronounce reason (audio)
ˈrē-zᵊn-ər
noun
Phrases
in reason within reason
: within reasonable limits
with reason
: with good cause
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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Below, showrunner and executive producer Jess Brownell breaks it down—including the hidden meaning behind Penelope's dress—as well as the reason for that surprise reveal (at least for book fans) at the end of the episode that seemingly sets up season four. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, 13 June 2024 But Deputy Mike Jackson, president of the Denver Sheriff Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27, said low staffing was cited internally as the reason for permanently ending work release. Shelly Bradbury, The Denver Post, 13 June 2024
Verb
The same tech boom that has made his district wealthy, he’s reasoned, could bring jobs to areas of the country that suffered as manufacturing shifted overseas. Noah Bierman, Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2024 This means the model also performs better on reasoning tasks in multiple languages than some competing open-source AI models of a similar size created by companies such as Meta and French AI startup Mistral. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 6 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for reason 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'reason.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near reason

Cite this Entry

“Reason.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reason. Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

reason

1 of 2 noun
rea·​son ˈrēz-ᵊn How to pronounce reason (audio)
1
a
: a statement given to explain a belief or act
gave a reason for my absence
b
: a good basis
reasons for thinking life may exist on other planets
c
: the thing that makes some fact understandable : cause
wanted to know the reason for earthquakes
2
a
: the power to think : intelligence
b
: a sound mind

reason

2 of 2 verb
reasoned; reasoning ˈrēz-niŋ How to pronounce reason (audio)
-ᵊn-iŋ
1
: to talk with another in order to cause a change of mind
reason with someone
2
a
: to use the power of reason
b
: to state or conclude by use of reason
reasoned that both statements couldn't be true

Legal Definition

reason

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

More from Merriam-Webster on reason

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