reason 1 of 2

as in explanation
a statement given to explain a belief or act she gave a good reason for her seemingly suspicious behavior

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as in motive
something (as a belief) that serves as the basis for another thing a firm belief that we are here on earth to help others is the reason for her tireless volunteer work

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2 of 2


as in to understand
to form an opinion or reach a conclusion through reasoning and information she reasoned that since all of the cakes were on sale for the same price, she might as well pick the biggest one

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Synonym Chooser

How is the word reason different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of reason are cogitate, deliberate, reflect, speculate, and think. While all these words mean "to use one's powers of conception, judgment, or inference," reason stresses consecutive logical thinking.

able to reason brilliantly in debate

When is it sensible to use cogitate instead of reason?

The meanings of cogitate and reason largely overlap; however, cogitate implies deep or intent thinking.

cogitated on the mysteries of nature

Where would deliberate be a reasonable alternative to reason?

The synonyms deliberate and reason are sometimes interchangeable, but deliberate suggests slow or careful reasoning before forming an opinion or reaching a conclusion or decision.

the jury deliberated for five hours

When is reflect a more appropriate choice than reason?

The words reflect and reason can be used in similar contexts, but reflect suggests unhurried consideration of something recalled to the mind.

reflecting on fifty years of married life

When can speculate be used instead of reason?

The words speculate and reason are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, speculate implies reasoning about things theoretical or problematic.

speculated on the fate of the lost explorers

When would think be a good substitute for reason?

Although the words think and reason have much in common, 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

Thesaurus Entries Near reason

Cite this Entry

“Reason.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

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