from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To explain rationally.
  • intransitive verb To explain or justify (one's behavior) with incorrect reasons or excuses, often without conscious awareness.
  • intransitive verb To dismiss or minimize the significance of (something) by means of an explanation or excuse.
  • intransitive verb To make (a business or process, for example) more efficient, as by reducing costs or introducing modern methods.
  • intransitive verb To terminate the employment of (workers) in an effort to improve efficiency.
  • intransitive verb Mathematics To remove radicals, such as from a denominator, without changing the value of (an expression) or roots of (an equation).
  • intransitive verb To think in a rational or rationalistic way.
  • intransitive verb To rationalize one's behavior.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make conformable to reason; give rationality to; cause to be or to appear reasonable or intelligible.
  • To subject to the test of reason; explain or interpret by rational principles; treat in the manner of a rationalist; as, to rationalize religion or the Scriptures.
  • In algebra, to free from radical signs.
  • To think for one's self; employ the reason as a supreme test; argue or speculate upon the basis of rationality or rationalism; act as a rationalist.
  • Also spelled rationalise.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To use, and rely on, reason in forming a theory, belief, etc., especially in matters of religion: to accord with the principles of rationalism.
  • transitive verb To make rational; also, to convert to rationalism.
  • transitive verb To interpret in the manner of a rationalist.
  • transitive verb To form a rational conception of.
  • transitive verb (Alg.) To render rational; to free from radical signs or quantities.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To make something rational or more rational.
  • verb mathematics To remove radicals, without changing the value of an expression or the roots of an equation.
  • verb To structure something along modern, efficient and systematic lines, or according to scientific principles.

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

  • verb think rationally; employ logic or reason
  • verb weed out unwanted or unnecessary things
  • verb defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning
  • verb remove irrational quantities from
  • verb structure and run according to rational or scientific principles in order to achieve desired results


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

rational +‎ -ize


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  • Tom's men were starving. The last battle had decimated his platoon's numbers and cut off all outside communication. Their rations had run out over a week ago. The only food they had been able to secure since then came from trapping and slaughtering birds from island's quickly dwindling owl population. The meat was sinewy and rancid, but they were so hungry that they ate every muscle and every organ--except for the eyeballs. Even starving men have their limits, it seemed to Tom. But he kept the eyes, preserving them as he could, in case it came to that. And now, the time had come. There were no more owls. His men were on the verge of death. He had to come up with a plan to stretch his gelatinous cache as far as possible.

    "I'll give each man two eyeballs a day," said Tom, trying to rationalize the situation.

    October 30, 2007