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Webster 1913 Edition


Reason

Rea′son

(rē′z’n)
,
Noun.
[OE.
resoun
, F.
raison
, fr. L.
ratio
(akin to Goth.
raþjō
number, account, ga
raþjan
to count, G.
rede
speech,
reden
to speak), fr.
reri
,
ratus
, to reckon, believe, think. Cf.
Arraign
,
Rate
,
Ratio
,
Ration
.]
1.
A thought or a consideration offered in support of a determination or an opinion; a just ground for a conclusion or an action; that which is offered or accepted as an explanation; the efficient cause of an occurrence or a phenomenon; a motive for an action or a determination; proof, more or less decisive, for an opinion or a conclusion; principle; efficient cause; final cause; ground of argument.
I’ll give him
reasons
for it.
Shakespeare
The
reason
of the motion of the balance in a wheel watch is by the motion of the next wheel.
Sir M. Hale.
This
reason
did the ancient fathers render, why the church was called “catholic.”
Bp. Pearson.
Virtue and vice are not arbitrary things; but there is a natural and eternal
reason
for that goodness and virtue, and against vice and wickedness.
Tillotson.
2.
The faculty or capacity of the human mind by which it is distinguished from the intelligence of the inferior animals; the higher as distinguished from the lower cognitive faculties, sense, imagination, and memory, and in contrast to the feelings and desires. Reason comprises conception, judgment, reasoning, and the intuitional faculty. Specifically, it is the intuitional faculty, or the faculty of first truths, as distinguished from the understanding, which is called the discursive or ratiocinative faculty.
We have no other faculties of perceiving or knowing anything divine or human, but by our five senses and our
reason
.
P. Browne.
In common and popular discourse,
reason
denotes that power by which we distinguish truth from falsehood, and right from wrong, and by which we are enabled to combine means for the attainment of particular ends.
Stewart.
Reason
is used sometimes to express the whole of those powers which elevate man above the brutes, and constitute his rational nature, more especially, perhaps, his intellectual powers; sometimes to express the power of deduction or argumentation.
Stewart.
By the pure
reason
I mean the power by which we become possessed of principles.
Coleridge.
The sense perceives; the understanding, in its own peculiar operation, conceives; the
reason
, or rationalized understanding, comprehends.
Coleridge.
3.
Due exercise of the reasoning faculty; accordance with, or that which is accordant with and ratified by, the mind rightly exercised; right intellectual judgment; clear and fair deductions from true principles; that which is dictated or supported by the common sense of mankind; right conduct; right; propriety; justice.
I was promised, on a time,
To have
reason
for my rhyme.
Spenser.
But law in a free nation hath been ever public
reason
; the enacted
reason
of a parliament, which he denying to enact, denies to govern us by that which ought to be our law; interposing his own private
reason
, which to us is no law.
Milton.
The most probable way of bringing France to
reason
would be by the making an attempt on the Spanish West Indies.
Addison.
4.
(Math.)
Ratio; proportion.
[Obs.]
Barrow.
By reason of
,
by means of; on account of; because of.
“Spain is thin sown of people, partly by reason of the sterility of the soil.”
Bacon.
In reason
,
In all reason
,
in justice; with rational ground; in a right view.

When anything is proved by as good arguments as a thing of that kind is capable of, we ought not,
in reason
, to doubt of its existence.
Tillotson.
It is reason
,
it is reasonable; it is right.
[Obs.]
Yet it were great
reason
, that those that have children should have greatest care of future times.
Bacon.
Syn. – Motive; argument; ground; consideration; principle; sake; account; object; purpose; design. See
Motive
,
Sense
.

Rea′son

(rē′z’n)
,
Verb.
I.
[
imp. & p. p.
Reasoned
(rē′z’nd)
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Reasoning
.]
[Cf. F.
raisonner
. See
Reason
,
Noun.
]
1.
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.
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.
Stand still, that I may
reason
with you, before the Lord, of all the righteous acts of the Lord.
1 Sam. xii. 7.
3.
To converse; to compare opinions.
Shak.

Rea′son

,
Verb.
T.
1.
To arrange and present the reasons for or against; to examine or discuss by arguments; to debate or discuss;
as, I
reasoned
the matter with my friend
.
When they are clearly discovered, well digested, and well
reasoned
in every part, there is beauty in such a theory.
T. Burnet.
2.
To support with reasons, as a request.
[R.]
Shak.
3.
To persuade by reasoning or argument;
as, to
reason
one into a belief; to
reason
one out of his plan.
Men that will not be
reasoned
into their senses.
L'Estrange.
4.
To overcome or conquer by adducing reasons; – with down;
as, to
reason
down a passion
.
5.
To find by logical processes; to explain or justify by reason or argument; – usually with
out
;
as, to
reason
out the causes of the librations of the moon
.

Webster 1828 Edition


Reason

REASON

,
Noun.
re'zn. [L. ratio, which is from ratus, and which proves reor to be contracted from redo, redor, and all unite with rod, L. radius, &c. Gr. to say or speak, whence rhetoric. See Read.]
1.
That which is thought or which is alleged in words, as the ground or cause of opinion, conclusion or determination. I have reasons which I may choose not to disclose. You ask me my reasons. I freely give my reasons. The judge assigns good reasons for his opinion, reasons which justify his decision. Hence in general,
2.
The cause, ground, principle or motive of any thing said or done; that which supports or justifies a determination, plan or measure.
Virtue and vice are not arbitrary things; but there is a natural and eternal reason for that goodness and virtue, and against vice and wickedness. 1Peter 3.
3.
Efficient cause. He is detained by reason of sickness.
Spain in thin sown of people, partly by reason of its sterility of soil
The reason of the motion of the balance in a wheel-watch is by motion of the next wheel.
4.
Final cause.
Reason, in the English language, is sometimes taken for true and clear principles; sometimes for clear and fair deductions; sometimes for the cause, particularly the final cause.
5.
A faculty of the mind by which it distinguishes truth from falsehood, and good from evil, and which enables the possessor to deduce inferences from facts or from propositions.
Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the soul, reason's comparing balance rules the whole - That sees immediate good by present sense, reason the future and the consequence.
Reason is the director of man's will.
6.
Ratiocination; the exercise of reason.
But when by reason she the truth has found -
7.
Right; justice; that which is dictated or supported by reason. Every man claims to have reason on his side.
I was promised on a time to have reason for my rhyme.
8.
Reasonable claim; justice.
God brings good out of evil, and therefore it were but reason we should trust God to govern his own world.
9.
Rationale; just account.
This reason did the ancient fathers render, why the church was called catholic.
10.
Moderation; moderate demands; claims which reason and justice admit or prescribe.
The most probable way of bringing France to reason, would be by the making an attempt on the Spanish West Indies -
In reason, in all reason, in justice; with rational ground.
When any thing is proved by as good arguments as a thing of that kind is capable of, we ought not in reason to doubt of its existence.

Definition 2021


reason

reason

English

Noun

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.
      • 1966, Graham Greene, The Comedians (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.
  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.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Edmund Spenser:
      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

Derived terms

Translations

Verb

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

Translations

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: John · hour · air · #368: reason · feel · behind · sn