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 Behnken has an extra reason to bring this Dragon back in good shape. Marcia Dunn, Anchorage Daily News, "US astronauts pack up for rare splashdown in SpaceX capsule," 1 Aug. 2020 Much attention of voter rights advocates has focused on the eight states, including New York and Connecticut, that do not consider fear of the pandemic a legitimate reason to vote by mail. Erin Cox, Washington Post, "Hogan says he tried to expand access to voting. Instead, he sparked a revolt.," 1 Aug. 2020 Thursday's results justify recent gains, and give tech enthusiasts good reason to maintain the momentum. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Big Tech's 'staggering' earnings live up to market hype," 31 July 2020 The reason the mayor and the unions' relationship has dissolved over time has been mostly hidden behind closed doors, as contract negotiations are closed to the public. Jen Fifield, The Arizona Republic, "Why Arizona police and fire unions launched a campaign against Glendale's mayor," 31 July 2020 Clubs are not allowed to disclose for which reason the player was placed on the list. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Dolphins place former Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker on reserve/COVID-19 list," 31 July 2020 But an Enquirer analysis of data from last year shows women killed in Cincinnati are more likely to be killed in partner violence or child abuse situations than any other reason. Anne Saker, The Enquirer, "Pandemic side effect: Domestic violence spikes, grows more deadly," 31 July 2020 The groups, seeing no reason to trust the Trump administration, asked for a federal court order to protect their right to protest in the event of any Portland-style tactics. Mick Dumke, ProPublica, "Bill Barr Has Done This Before," 31 July 2020 All the more reason it should be relocated to a more peaceful locale… like Dallas. oregonlive, "Lawmakers suggest relocating embattled federal courthouse... to their districts," 31 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Atlanta police video, released Sunday, showed Brooks trying to reason with the officers outside of a local Wendy’s before being killed. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "Tyler Perry To Pay For Rayshard Brooks's Funeral," 17 June 2020 Mimi was trying to reason it out and think of reasons why that could be happening and why it was tied to race. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "Influencer Seun Okimi Explores Why Nigeria Is Still Embracing Relaxed Hair," 8 June 2020 But as Musk’s rhetoric escalated, some of his fans tried to reason gently with him that research showed social-distancing measures could slow the spread of the virus. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "The Cult of Elon Is Cracking," 20 May 2020 He can't be charmed or reasoned with, and his desire to turn the whole universe into his own identical drones is a horrible match for Catra's one-of-a-kind personality. Christian Holub,, "She-Ra showrunner and stars break down Adora and Catra's connection," 19 May 2020 In this case, Gorsuch reasoned that although Louisiana and Oregon will face litigation from defendants convicted by non-unanimous juries, that burden is sustainable. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Casting aside its precedents, Supreme Court moves inexorably toward abortion rights," 24 Apr. 2020 With 30 years of political experience, and facing an enormous challenge that begs calm, reasoned thinking, Merkel is at peak performance modeling the humble credibility of a scientist at work. Saskia Miller, The Atlantic, "Angela Merkel Is Germany’s Scientist in Chief," 20 Apr. 2020 McGahn reasoned that Kennedy might be more likely to resign if Kavanaugh was likely to be his replacement. John Fabian Witt, The New Republic, "How the Republican Party Took Over the Supreme Court," 7 Apr. 2020 Using its emergency powers, the agency reasoned that trying the unapproved treatment outweighed the risks. Allyson Chiu, Washington Post, "Trump blocks Fauci from answering question about drug Trump is touting," 6 Apr. 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.

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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

4 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reason.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 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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