reason

noun
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 : 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
d : the thing that makes some fact intelligible : cause the reason for earthquakes the real reason why he wanted me to stay— Graham Greene
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

reason

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

Definition of reason (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from reason

Verb

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

Choose the Right Synonym for reason

Verb

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One reason college is so costly and so little real learning occurs is that collegiate resources are vastly underused. Richard Vedder, WSJ, "College Wouldn’t Cost So Much If Students and Faculty Worked Harder," 10 Apr. 2019 Like the Kung-Fu Grip of the ’70s, the Swivel-Arm Battle Grip innovated the toy—and gave Hasbro a reason to rerelease each original figure with the new feature. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "Yo, Joe: How a 12-Inch Soldier Doll Became a Toy Legend," 9 Apr. 2019 The real reason why Sara Gilbert is leaving The Talk ... Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Here's the Real Reason Why Sara Gilbert Is Leaving 'The Talk'," 9 Apr. 2019 Two excellent reasons to hear this program: the SSO’s music director designate Thomas Dausgaard will conduct, and the concerto soloist is Garrick Ohlsson, one of today’s most reliably thrilling pianists. The Seattle Times, "Look Ahead: The hottest Seattle events for April 2019," 5 Apr. 2019 Some fans also speculated about the reason behind Jon and Arya's encounter. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Game of Thrones Fans Have a Heartwarming Theory Behind Jon Snow and Arya Stark's Reunion in the New Promo," 2 Apr. 2019 One big reason why Grey's Anatomy was able to handle this episode in such a sensitive and multi-faceted way? Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Everyone Should Watch Grey's Anatomy's Powerful Message About Consent," 29 Mar. 2019 That definition is important for a lot of reasons, including the fact that a flexible approach to eating means a healthy approach to life. Gray Chapman, SELF, "A Nightmare About Nachos Made Me Realize That Dieting Was Causing Me Food Anxiety," 27 Mar. 2019 For all of those reasons, disaster relief, especially in the immediate aftermath of disasters like Cyclone Idai and the floods in the Midwest, can be difficult to do effectively. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "Why disaster relief is so hard," 25 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

All four are talking about a president who isn't particularly on top of things or able to be reasoned with. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "The epidemic of Republicans talking about Trump like he's a child goes public," 18 Jan. 2018 Jack once again tries to reason with Nicky, who’s been self-medicating to make it through the days in Vietnam. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Is Us Just Dropped Two Massive Bombshells," 28 Nov. 2018 After three days, Janet, Hank’s wife, enters the lab and tries to reason with him. refinery29.com, "Ant-Man & The Wasp Have A Disturbing Incident Of Domestic Abuse In Their Past," 5 July 2018 For hours, police tried to reason with her, and would also use a robot, tear gas — none of which worked. Eric Adler And Glenn E. Rice, kansascity, "‘KCPD murdered my only daughter,’ says mother of woman who wielded decorative sword," 15 June 2018 The other man tries to reason with the crowd, but eventually gives up, dropping to the ground and curling up to protect himself as much as possible. Washington Post, "Rumors spread on social media fuel deadly India mob attacks," 14 June 2018 Meanwhile, Leonard goes to Raj and tries to reason with him. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "'The Big Bang Theory' Season 11, Episode 21 Recap: I Can’t Believe How Raj Treated Penny," 19 Apr. 2018 Manal tries to reason with her husband, as does Tony’s wife, Shirine (Rita Hayek), who is pregnant with their first child. A.o. Scott, New York Times, "Review: In ‘The Insult,’ the Dispute Is Personal. And Political.," 10 Jan. 2018 But during this time, the Greek physician Hippocrates reasoned that diseases had natural rather than supernatural causes. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "The Complete History of the Autopsy," 26 Dec. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of reason

Noun

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

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for reason

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reason

Statistics for reason

Last Updated

17 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reason

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for reason

reason

noun

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

reason

verb

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

reason

noun
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.

reason

verb
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?

reason

noun
rea·​son

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on reason

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reason

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for reason

Spanish Central: Translation of reason

Nglish: Translation of reason for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reason for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about reason

Comments on reason

What made you want to look up reason? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!