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 For some reason Jacob hesitated to put the touch on his elbow into words. Caleb Crain, The New Yorker, 19 Sep. 2022 Then in 2017 for some inexplicable reason, Brandon McCarthy was included on the playoff roster, despite having an absolutely horrid year. Los Angeles Times, 17 Sep. 2022 For some reason the distances are now longer, the trails are steeper, the mountains are higher, and the air seems thinner. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Sep. 2022 For some bizarre reason, Vinnie, a member of the Hype House, seemingly left an interesting comment on Javon's video. Stacey Grant, Seventeen, 15 Sep. 2022 Tiger’s brother, real name Matthew), whose channel is apparently much hotter than the one these guys run, will cross paths with them soon, swinging a real sword around in the woods for some reason while wearing a VR headset. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Sep. 2022 Lauren recommends breakfast salads, for some reason. Wired Staff, WIRED, 15 Sep. 2022 For some reason, the opening then devolved into a very strange dance recital from your nephew's high school. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 13 Sep. 2022 Warren Zevon, Joe Jackson, Robyn Hitchcock, Billy Bragg, The Fixx, Paul Weller... for some reason, the older Brits really like me. Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant, 13 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Sopova, who is now studying anthropology at Princeton, tried to reason with some of them, including her grandmother., 17 Sep. 2022 Communist Infiltration, resulting in the chronic inability to reason by the general populace. Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 2022 The July payrolls data may give Fed officials reason to continue their aggressive monetary policy approach against a backdrop of decades-high inflation. Olivia Rockeman, Fortune, 5 Aug. 2022 Tourism is a fifth of the Greek economy, and leaders reason that visitors who suffer through hot hotel rooms won’t come back. Elinda Labropoulou, Washington Post, 5 Aug. 2022 And yet reading this paragraph can lead the human mind – even that of a Google engineer – to imagine GPT-3 as an intelligent being that can reason about peanut butter and pineapple dishes. Kyle Mahowald And Anna A. Ivanova, Ars Technica, 27 June 2022 But his book and its cover invite the reader to imagine a public forum in which a red-state pachyderm and a blue-state equine can reason together peaceably and constructively instead of biting and kicking each other. Martha Bayles, WSJ, 24 June 2022 Sonia Membreno has tried to reason with Bernie, her black labradoodle, with little success. Hau Chu, Washington Post, 24 Aug. 2022 Some people reason that a human being’s moral status is not all-or-nothing, but, like human development, a matter of degree. Nancy S. Jecker, The Conversation, 13 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

22 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Reason.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 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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