see also: Reason
  • IPA: /ˈɹiːzən/


  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 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.
      • 1966, Graham Greene, The Comedians (novel) (Penguin Classics edition, ISBN 0140184945, page 14:
        I have forgotten the reason he gave for not travelling by air. I felt sure that it was not the correct reason, and that he suffered from a heart trouble which he kept to himself.
    4. (logic) A premise placed after its conclusion.
  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 […]
  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.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

reason (reasons, present participle reasoning; past and past participle reasoned)

  1. (intransitive) To deduce or come to a conclusion by being rational
    • 1892, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Speckled Band
      "I had," said he, "come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows, my dear Watson, how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data. […] "
  2. (intransitive) To perform a process of deduction or of induction, in order to convince or to confute; to argue.
    • 1853, Solomon Northup, chapter III, in [David Wilson], editor, Twelve Years a Slave. Narrative of Solomon Northrup, a Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853, from a Cotton Plantation near the Red River, in Louisiana, London: Sampson Low, Son & Co.; Auburn, N.Y.: Derby and Miller, OCLC 14877269 ↗, page 47 ↗:
      Still my spirit was not broken. I indulged the anticipation of escape, and that speedily. It was impossible, I reasoned, that men could be so unjust as to detain me as a slave, when the truth of my case was known.
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) To converse; to compare opinions.
  4. (ambitransitive) 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.
    • 1901, Ralph Connor, The Man from Glengarry Chapter 9
      The talk was mainly between Aleck and Murdie, the others crowding eagerly about and putting in a word as they could. Murdie was reasoning good-humoredly, Aleck replying fiercely.
  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
    • 1816, Jane Austen, Emma Volume 2/Chapter 10
      That she was not immediately ready, Emma did suspect to arise from the state of her nerves; she had not yet possessed the instrument long enough to touch it without emotion; she must reason herself into the power of performance; and Emma could not but pity such feelings, whatever their origin, and could not but resolve never to expose them to her neighbour again.
  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
Translations Translations Translations
Proper noun
  1. Surname

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