The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Reason \Rea"son\ (r[=e]"z'n), n. [OE. resoun, F. raison, fr. L.
ratio (akin to Goth. ra[thorn]j[=o] number, account,
gara[thorn]jan 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. --Shak.
The reason of the motion of the balance in a wheel
watch is by the motion of the next wheel. --Sir M.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 all reason, in justice; with rational ground; in a right
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.
Syn: Motive; argument; ground; consideration; principle;
sake; account; object; purpose; design. See Motive,