reason

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Borrowing from Anglo-Norman raisun (Old French raison), from Latin ratiō, from ratus, past participle of reor (reckon).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

reason (countable and uncountable, plural reasons)

  1. A cause:
    1. That which causes something: an efficient cause, a proximate cause.
      The reason this tree fell is that it had rotted.
      • 1996, Daniel Clement Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, page 198:
        There is a reason why so many should be symmetrical: The selective advantage in a symmetrical complex is enjoyed by all the subunits []
    2. A motive for an action or a determination.
      The reason I robbed the bank was that I needed the money.
      If you don't give me a reason to go with you, I won't.
      • 1806, Anonymous, Select Notes to Book XXI, in, Alexander Pope, translator, The Odyssey of Homer, volume 6 (London, F.J. du Roveray), page 37:
        This is the reason why he proposes to offer a libation, to atone for the abuse of the day by their diversions.
      • 1881, Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady, chapter 10:
        Ralph Touchett, for reasons best known to himself, had seen fit to say that Gilbert Osmond was not a good fellow []
    3. An excuse: a thought or a consideration offered in support of a determination or an opinion; that which is offered or accepted as an explanation.
  2. (uncountable) Rational thinking (or the capacity for it); the cognitive faculties, collectively, of conception, judgment, deduction and intuition.
    Mankind should develop reason above all other virtues.
    • 1970, Hannah Arendt, On Violence ISBN 0156695006, page 62:
      And the specific distinction between man and beast is now, strictly speaking, no longer reason (the lumen naturale of the human animal) but science []
    • 2014 June 21, “Magician’s brain”, in The Economist, volume 411, number 8892:
      The [Isaac] Newton that emerges from the [unpublished] manuscripts is far from the popular image of a rational practitioner of cold and pure reason. The architect of modern science was himself not very modern. He was obsessed with alchemy.
  3. (obsolete) Something reasonable, in accordance with thought; justice.
    • 16th century Edmund Spenser, Lines on his Promised Pension
      I was promised, on a time, To have reason for my rhyme.
  4. (mathematics, obsolete) Ratio; proportion.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Barrow to this entry?)

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Verb[edit]

reason (third-person singular simple present reasons, present participle reasoning, simple past and past participle reasoned)

  1. (intransitive) To exercise the rational faculty; to deduce inferences from premises; to perform the process of deduction or of induction; to ratiocinate; to reach conclusions by a systematic comparison of facts.
  2. (intransitive) Hence: To carry on a process of deduction or of induction, in order to convince or to confute; to formulate and set forth propositions and the inferences from them; to argue.
  3. (intransitive) To converse; to compare opinions.
  4. (transitive) To arrange and present the reasons for or against; to examine or discuss by arguments; to debate or discuss.
    I reasoned the matter with my friend.
  5. (transitive, rare) To support with reasons, as a request.
  6. (transitive) To persuade by reasoning or argument.
    to reason one into a belief; to reason one out of his plan
  7. (transitive, with down) To overcome or conquer by adducing reasons.
    to reason down a passion
  8. (transitive, usually with out) To find by logical process; to explain or justify by reason or argument.
    to reason out the causes of the librations of the moon

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]