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 reason (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

Other Words from reason


reasoner \ ˈrēz-​nər How to pronounce reason (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 There’s a reason why these classics stand the test of time! Kiana Murden, Vogue, 2 Aug. 2022 Because that one incorporates the fact the film had to be delayed regardless, for continuity reasons, and that any number of things could happen or change in the next year, so there’s no reason to commit to anything today. Mark Hughes, Forbes, 2 Aug. 2022 There’s a reason, of course, why Westry was rated as the No. 38 overall player in the 2022 class—a high four-star prospect who chose Auburn over the likes of LSU, Florida and Syracuse, among others. Tom Green |, al, 1 Aug. 2022 There’s no reason that individual lifestyle choices and collective action need to be mutually exclusive, or even slightly conflicting. Aaron Regunberg, The New Republic, 1 Aug. 2022 There’s also a reason why the program targets Latinas. San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 July 2022 There’s no practical reason that the news outlet should be able to produce a more useful and comprehensive shelter census than the city. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 30 July 2022 There’s a reason why some of Alone’s most poignant moments of emotional realization occur later in each season, Marrone says. Frederick Dreier, Outside Online, 29 July 2022 There’s a reason this tradition of keeping lists of safe contacts exists. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, 28 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb At first, Pozner tried to reason with the conspiracists, joining one of their Facebook groups and engaging in arguments with them for hours. Jake Bittle, The New Republic, 9 June 2022 Hayek is probably right to reason that, while resellers are an inevitability of any hot product, the tight distribution has at least limited their access to the MoonSwatch. Tim Barber, Wired, 18 July 2022 The first cognition is pleasant, but is inconsistent with the second, so the path of least resistance, for some people, is simply to disregard or reason away the second. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 23 June 2022 For decades, technologists kept saying that driverless cars, computers that reason like humans and robotic factory workers would soon be ubiquitous and better than what came before. Harrison Wolf, Forbes, 17 June 2022 Without modern symbolic algebra, mathematicians would reason geometrically. Quanta Magazine, 30 June 2022 Such new worlds also gave agents the chance to reason about changes in a new dimension: time. Quanta Magazine, 24 June 2022 There is still an immense amount of work to be done in making machines that truly can comprehend and reason about the world around them. Gary Marcus, Scientific American, 6 June 2022 Equally or more important to my job, though, is getting students to reason mathematically. Mark Wolfmeyer, Popular Mechanics, 25 May 2022 See More

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.

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 "reckoning, calculation, explanation," from reri "to calculate, think;" probably akin to Goth rathjo "account, explanation"

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Time Traveler for reason

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

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Reason.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for reason


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, The Tale of Despereaux
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

More from Merriam-Webster on reason

Nglish: Translation of reason for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reason for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about reason


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