rationalize

/rash"euh nl uyz', rash"nl uyz'/, v., rationalized, rationalizing.
v.t.
1. to ascribe (one's acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that superficially seem reasonable and valid but that actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less creditable or agreeable causes.
2. to remove unreasonable elements from.
3. to make rational or conformable to reason.
4. to treat or explain in a rational or rationalistic manner.
5. Math. to eliminate radicals from (an equation or expression): to rationalize the denominator of a fraction.
6. Chiefly Brit. to reorganize and integrate (an industry).
v.i.
7. to invent plausible explanations for acts, opinions, etc., that are actually based on other causes: He tried to prove that he was not at fault, but he was obviously rationalizing.
8. to employ reason; think in a rational or rationalistic manner.
Also, esp. Brit., rationalise.
[1810-20; RATIONAL + -IZE]
Usage. Although RATIONALIZE retains its principal 19th-century senses "to make conformable to reason" and "to treat in a rational manner," 20th-century psychology has given it the now more common meaning "to ascribe (one's acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that seem reasonable but actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious causes." Although the possibility of ambiguity exists, the context will usually make clear which sense is intended.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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