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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Semester also said police did not have reason to believe that the man's life was in danger. Mj Slaby, Indianapolis Star, "Carmel police saw a man with a shotgun. Here's why there was no arrest.," 10 May 2020 After all the setbacks and struggles this season, Lillard finally had a reason to celebrate. oregonlive, "Trail Blazers Classics: Carmelo Anthony’s late jumper lifts Portland to stunning win over Toronto Raptors," 10 May 2020 Jensen concluded Flynn's guilty plea to lying to the FBI should be dismissed because agents did not have a valid reason to be investigating him. Anchorage Daily News, "After Flynn reversal, Trump signals his FBI director is on thin ice," 9 May 2020 Aside from being the posterchild for babies everywhere, Magnolia has another reason to celebrate. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "Gerber's new baby Magnolia is the first adopted spokesbaby in the company's history," 8 May 2020 More than 400 Mexican migrants are known to have died of COVID-19 in the New York area, but for health reasons, Mexico will only accept their bodies if they are cremated. ProPublica, "Los New Yorkers: Essential and Underprotected in the Pandemic’s Epicenter," 3 May 2020 Kent Mayor LeRoy Satrom had good reason to be concerned. Paula Schleis,, "'Be ye prepared’: Warning, flames greeted National Guard ahead of Kent State shootings," 2 May 2020 For reasons not explained in legal documents, the Wisconsin broker interested in the plane contacted A.E., who had already reported the apparent fraud to authorities. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "A thief stole two airplanes with a signature and a couple of stamps," 2 May 2020 However, there are some people who have no reason that doctors can find as to why a clot formed. Essence, "How To Prevent Blood Clots And Other Health Issues During COVID-19 Pandemic," 1 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The work of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission requires reasoned and measured judgment. Jake Curtis, National Review, "A Dubious Appointment to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission," 1 May 2020 Economists and Democrats reasoned, though, that unemployment insurance is progressive and decided by states, so low earners may not receive sufficient help through unemployment benefits alone. Cassidy Morrison, Washington Examiner, "Legislation provides coronavirus 'hazard pay' for essential workers," 23 Apr. 2020 Performative fundraising favors simplistic narratives, melodramatic rhetoric, an implacable enemy, and rote phrases to crowd out reasoned debate. Jake Bernstein, The New York Review of Books, "The Fundraising Pulpit," 8 Apr. 2020 Goodell nonetheless reasoned that, based on the NFL’s review of facts, Elliott had violated the personal conduct policy. Michael Mccann,, "Could Roger Goodell Change Mind in Disciplining Ezekiel Elliott After Pressed Charges?," 16 July 2019 The drama was evident in Merkel's words, but the manner was familiar: Matter-of-fact and calm, reasoning rather than rousing, creating a message that hit home. David Rising And Geir Moulson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Angela Merkel rises to the coronavirus leadership challenge," 29 Mar. 2020 The large numbers in urban centers stand to reason at least to some extent, even with the early data. Rich Exner, cleveland, "Does coronavirus spread along Ohio’s highways? Not so simple," 27 Mar. 2020 Thoughtful, reasoned decisions like these are needed to cope with potential public health emergencies. Susie A. Han, STAT, "Allocate ventilators, other Covid-19 resources based on evidence, not political hunches," 17 Mar. 2020 But the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, reasoning that Google could have written its own declaring code (even if doing so would be highly inefficient), held that merger was inapplicable. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Movie Studios Back Oracle in Supreme Court Fight Over Computer Code," 19 Feb. 2020

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


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reason

Time Traveler for reason

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for reason

Last Updated

14 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reason.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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