rationalize Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. verb defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning
    apologise; rationalise; excuse; apologize; justify.
    • rationalize the child's seemingly crazy behavior
    • he rationalized his lack of success
  2. verb weed out unwanted or unnecessary things
    rationalise; cut; prune.
    • We had to lose weight, so we cut the sugar from our diet
  3. verb structure and run according to rational or scientific principles in order to achieve desired results
    • We rationalized the factory's production and raised profits
  4. verb think rationally; employ logic or reason
    • When one wonders why one is doing certain things, one should rationalize
  5. verb remove irrational quantities from
    • This function can be rationalized


Ra"tion*al*ize transitive verb
  1. To make rational; also, to convert to rationalism.
  2. To interpret in the manner of a rationalist.
  3. To form a rational conception of.
  4. (Alg.) To render rational; to free from radical signs or quantities.
Ra"tion*al*ize intransitive verb
  1. To use, and rely on, reason in forming a theory, belief, etc., especially in matters of religion: to accord with the principles of rationalism.
    Theodore . . . is just considered the chief rationalizing doctor of antiquity. J. H. Newman.

Webster 1913