reason

1 of 2

noun

rea·​son ˈrē-zᵊn How to pronounce reason (audio)
1
a
: 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
2
a(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

reason

2 of 2

verb

reasoned; reasoning ˈrēz-niŋ How to pronounce reason (audio)
ˈrē-zᵊn-iŋ

intransitive verb

1
: to use the faculty of reason so as to arrive at conclusions
2
a
: 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
reasoner
ˈrēz-nər How to pronounce reason (audio)
ˈrē-zᵊn-ər
noun
Phrases
in reason within reason
: within reasonable limits
with reason
: with good cause
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

Example Sentences

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
Speeding was the reason for 13.3% of unrestrained drivers being involved in crashes. Chandra Fleming, Detroit Free Press, 1 Dec. 2022 These declines due to the fungus are the main reason USFWS moved the species to the endangered list. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 1 Dec. 2022 There is little reason to think anything substantial will be implemented, though. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2022 There is also, according to someone who has been in it, a suite at Al Bayt that, for some reason, boasts a retractable bed and a bathroom equipped with a shower. Christina Goldbaum, New York Times, 30 Nov. 2022 For some reason, the Windows 11 22H2 update can trigger additional debugging software processes while gaming, which can result in a performance drop, including stuttering. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 30 Nov. 2022 Instead of falling into the hole, though, it is expelled for some reason, and becomes accelerated outward, close to the speed of light. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 30 Nov. 2022 That’s right—for some reason, her family invited her ex to Christmas. Amy Mackelden, ELLE, 23 Nov. 2022 Those all get fans engaged, but for some reason have been eliminated. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 23 Nov. 2022
Verb
Both sides of the ball gave us as fans reason to feel confident in our team and where their general direction is headed. The Enquirer, 27 Oct. 2022 In 1918 and once again during the Covid-19 pandemic, the urgencies of creature conveniences for harried lives and hurried people were too strong to reason with. Kent Sepkowitz, CNN, 17 Oct. 2022 Newman said the group tried to reason with Abraham and management. Jasmine Hilton, Washington Post, 30 Sep. 2022 Lenders reason that companies with healthy ESG scores have better governance and risk management processes, and therefore represent a lower lending risk. Sanda Ojiambo, Fortune, 18 Oct. 2022 Economists would reason that, given the chance to reduce costs and thus raise self-interest, such users would take advantage of the opportunity to reduce consumption accordingly. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 26 Sep. 2022 If your body’s in check, our brain seems to reason, better to stress about the project that’s overdue or the conflict with your friend than sit around feeling like everything’s fine. Gloria Liu, The Atlantic, 23 Sep. 2022 Sopova, who is now studying anthropology at Princeton, tried to reason with some of them, including her grandmother. BostonGlobe.com, 17 Sep. 2022 Communist Infiltration, resulting in the chronic inability to reason by the general populace. Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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"

First Known Use

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2b

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

Dictionary Entries Near reason

Cite this Entry

“Reason.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reason. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

reason 1 of 2

noun

rea·​son ˈrēz-ᵊn How to pronounce reason (audio)
1
a
: a statement given to explain a belief or act
gave a reason for my absence
b
: a good basis
reasons for thinking life may exist on other planets
c
: the thing that makes some fact understandable : cause
wanted to know the reason for earthquakes
2
a
: the power to think : intelligence
b
: a sound mind
within reason
: within reasonable limits
with reason
: with good cause

reason

2 of 2

verb

reasoned; reasoning ˈrēz-niŋ How to pronounce reason (audio)
-ᵊn-iŋ
1
: to talk with another in order to cause a change of mind
reason with someone
2
a
: to use the power of reason
b
: to state or conclude by use of reason
reasoned that both statements couldn't be true

Legal Definition

reason

noun

rea·​son
1
: an underlying ground, justification, purpose, motive, or inducement
required to provide reasons for the termination in writing
2
a
: 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

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