Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Fundamental reasons; the basis.
  • n. An exposition of principles or reasons.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an explanation of the basis or fundamental reasons for something
  • n. a justification or rationalization for something
  • n. a liturgical vestment worn by Christian bishops of various denominations

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An explanation or exposition of the principles of some opinion, action, hypothesis, phenomenon, or the like; also, the principles themselves.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The rational basis or motive of something; that which accounts for or explains the existence of something; reason for being.
  • n. A rational explanation or statement of reasons; an argumentative or theoretical account; a reasoned exposition.
  • n. Same as rational, 2.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (law) an explanation of the fundamental reasons (especially an explanation of the working of some device in terms of laws of nature)

Etymologies

Late Latin ratiōnāle, from neuter of Latin ratiōnālis, rational; see rational.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Around 1650-1650 from the Late Latin ratiōnāle, the neuter form of ratiōnālis ("rational, possessing reason"). (Wiktionary)

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