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rationalize

[rash-uh-nl-ahyz, rash-nl-ahyz] /ˈræʃ ə nlˌaɪz, ˈræʃ nlˌaɪz/
verb (used with object), rationalized, rationalizing.
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.
Mathematics. to eliminate radicals from (an equation or expression):
to rationalize the denominator of a fraction.
6.
Chiefly British. to reorganize and integrate (an industry).
verb (used without object), rationalized, rationalizing.
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, especially British, rationalise.
Origin
1810-1820
1810-20; rational + -ize
Related forms
rationalization, noun
rationalizer, noun
nonrationalization, noun
nonrationalized, adjective
overrationalization, noun
overrationalize, verb, overrationalized, overrationalizing.
semirationalized, adjective
unrationalized, adjective
unrationalizing, adjective
Usage note
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for rationalization
  • There is no justification, no excuse, no rationalization that can ever make this crime go away.
  • For human beings to consume their heirs' habitat requires denial and rationalization.
  • So much rationalization and bad faith on this subject.
  • He explains his idea of rationalization rather openly too.
  • Either way, the rationalization is that nothing needs to be done.
  • Bush has lost his rationalization for high military spending, not its cause.
  • Now, two years later, that rationalization seems a bit thin.
  • On top of this is the defensiveness and rationalization of the community as a whole to back up its individual members.
  • Our amazing powers of rationalization will carry us forward until then.
  • Claiming that students are utterly unlike any of their predecessors in prior ages smacks of rationalization to me.
British Dictionary definitions for rationalization

rationalize

/ˈræʃənəˌlaɪz/
verb
1.
to justify (one's actions, esp discreditable actions, or beliefs) with plausible reasons, esp after the event
2.
(psychol) to indulge, often unchallenged, in excuses for or explanations of (behaviour about which one feels uncomfortable or guilty)
3.
to apply logic or reason to (something)
4.
to eliminate unnecessary equipment, personnel, or processes from (a group of businesses, factory, etc), in order to make it more efficient
5.
(transitive) (maths) to eliminate one or more radicals without changing the value of (an expression) or the roots of (an equation)
Derived Forms
rationalization, rationalisation, noun
rationalizer, rationaliser, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rationalization
n.

1825, "a rendering rational," from rationalize + -ation. Psychological use is from 1908.

Of the three works now on our table, the two which we have placed first have these laudable objects in view; an improvement on the former versions of the Psalms as compositions, and the rationalization, if we may so speak, of our Church psalmody. ["The British Critic," London, Jan.-June 1825]

rationalize

v.

1767, "explain in a rational way, make conformable to reason," from rational + -ize. In the psychological sense of "to give an explanation that conceals true motives" it dates from 1922. Related: Rationalized; rationalizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rationalization in Medicine

rationalize ra·tion·al·ize (rāsh'ə-nə-līz')
v. ra·tion·al·ized, ra·tion·al·iz·ing, ra·tion·al·iz·es

  1. To make rational.

  2. To devise self-satisfying but false or inconsistent reasons for one's behavior, especially as an unconscious defense mechanism through which irrational acts or feelings are made to appear rational to oneself.


ra'tion·al·i·za'tion (rāsh'ə-nə-lĭ-zā'shən) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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