Definition of rationalize in English:


(also rationalise)


  • 1Attempt to explain or justify (behaviour or an attitude) with logical reasons, even if these are not appropriate.

    ‘she couldn't rationalize her urge to return to the cottage’
    • ‘There was the bitterness over the recruiters' deception, but they tried their best to rationalize what was happening.’
    • ‘How did the individuals who masterminded and ran the camp system rationalize their own behavior?’
    • ‘Everybody is trying to rationalise behaviour that a previous generation would have been horrified by.’
    • ‘Is this really a song about an abuser rationalizing his violent behaviour - or just a guy saying look I'm moody and hard to live with?’
    • ‘Looking at the root cause rather than rationalizing negative behaviors results in workplace improvements.’
    • ‘Hard to believe that these people can justify and rationalize such sickening behavior!’
    • ‘I know it sounds like I'm rationalising bad behaviour.’
    • ‘Takeovers of car companies are always rationalized on the basis of finding new markets for the struggling company's vehicles.’
    • ‘They use all this brainpower to rationalize away problems and feelings.’
    • ‘There is an all too-human tendency to rationalise our own behaviour, especially when we act irresponsibly or cruelly.’
    • ‘Actions are rationalized on the basis that the ends justify the means.’
    • ‘You can easily rationalize it by telling yourself it's work-related.’
    • ‘Any attempt to justify and rationalize this is probably beside the point.’
    • ‘And the question would be so concise that there would be no room for you to minimise, justify or rationalise your behaviour.’
    • ‘She could easily rationalize her actions by thinking she's working towards moving out of there.’
    • ‘It's easy to rationalise one's behaviour by quoting conspiracy theories.’
    • ‘‘I like things to be just right,’ he said, laughing as he attempts to rationalise his behaviour.’
    • ‘He understood that the only way to rationalize slavery was to negate the slave's humanity.’
    • ‘He didn't bother trying to rationalize what the sound could have been.’
    • ‘Or maybe I was rationalizing away something I didn't want to see.’
    justify, account for, defend, vindicate, excuse, make excuses for, make allowances for, give an explanation for, provide a rationale for, make acceptable
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  • 2British Make (a company, process, or industry) more efficient, especially by dispensing with superfluous personnel or equipment.

    ‘if we rationalize production, will that mean redundancies?’
    • ‘We wanted a Decommissioning Scheme with sufficient funding to make a real impact on rationalising the Industry.’
    • ‘Mr Bunyan said there was enormous scope to rationalise courier companies which deliver to people in rural communities.’
    • ‘Ultimately, companies wishing to instill more discipline in the R&D process are out to rationalize their product portfolios.’
    • ‘The process of rationalising our property portfolio has been finalised.’
    • ‘Good progress is reported to have been made in talks to rationalise the beef industry, worth €1.5 billion to the economy.’
    • ‘The court was told the company made seven people redundant in July as a result of ‘ongoing financial losses and the requirement to rationalise the business’.’
    • ‘Hurt by a downturn in the print industry, Wyndeham has been rationalising its business units to improve efficiency.’
    • ‘The government just finished drawing up a rough plan for streamlining and rationalizing the corporations at the end of last year.’
    • ‘This competition is seeing the players invest heavily into their brands, poaching talent, launching new products, and rationalising the overall business.’
    • ‘As work in the garment industry was rationalized, then parceled out for the lowest possible wage, the large mass of garment workers became not craftsmen but a proletarian labor force.’
    • ‘GM sought to rationalize its business by eliminating brands and thus was motivated to end the Daewoo dealer network.’
    • ‘In light of that, Irish Sugar's decision to rationalise the industry is timely.’
    • ‘Today, more than ever, the primary challenge facing the CEO is to build management teams that know how to create soundly rationalized businesses - and manage them to last.’
    • ‘The Thatcher government set out to rationalise Britain's state-run industries in preparation for privatisation.’
    • ‘This funds a huge burst of creativity - which is followed by a Darwinian process that rationalizes the industry.’
    • ‘These stories voiced a persistent, cynical New York belief: that the mob rationalizes complicated industries for businesses.’
    • ‘In the late 1980s Armco wished to rationalise its businesses.’
    • ‘Maybe I'm getting too personal about this, but rationalizing the movie business drives me mad.’
    • ‘Since then Murphy and his team have been engaged in the acrimonious process of rationalising the troubled food group.’
    • ‘Hayley is like a machine, carrying out incremental change to rationalise companies.’
    1. 2.1Reorganize (a process or system) so as to make it more logical and consistent.
      ‘Parliament should seek to rationalize the country's court structure’
      • ‘This concentration on rationalizing the tax system, however, fatally ignored the real Achilles heel of the royal finances.’
      • ‘The book lauds quartermaster general Alexander Lawton's efforts to rationalize the procurement process.’
      • ‘However, progress had been more limited in improving the efficiency of the public administration, and in rationalising the health care and education systems.’
      • ‘While custom tailors sold individually fitted suits and other personalized apparel, they increasingly rationalized the production process in order to reduce basic costs.’
      • ‘With this in view, I want to make a beginning towards rationalising the existing system of concessions and exemptions.’
      • ‘They also helped rationalize the economy and guarantee unions' social and political role.’
      • ‘To rationalize the process, DiFrancesco uses three ‘buckets’: physical capital, technology capital, and human capital.’
      • ‘The commission rationalized this system, explaining that other transportation networks already charge variable rates for use at peak hours.’
      • ‘A photoinduced intraenzyme electron-transfer model is proposed to rationalize the photoreactivation process.’
      • ‘The idea of money came about because there was a need to rationalise trade, to provide a base against which the worth of some object could be measured.’
      • ‘Also, few modern regulating structures exist and the systems need to be rationalized to eliminate duplication or resources and increase the irrigable area.’
      • ‘But the system was rationalized and improved by Alfred's successors, and under Eadgar it emerges clearly in its developed form.’
      • ‘The computer system needs upgrading, there is a manpower shortage and there is a need to rationalise the system so that fewer checks on routine imports are automatically carried out.’
      • ‘As the prison system is rationalized and restructured through each of these individual decisions, it's clear that the prisoners themselves are just pawns.’
      • ‘Another idea, which has been adopted by internet-based direct selling sites to rationalise the process, is the decision tree.’
      • ‘After the war there were script reforms carried out to rationalise the writing system, but that connection between characters and Japanese identity remains very strong.’
      • ‘Its arrival has not yielded a new Constitution, rationalised the party system, modernised justice or overhauled the bureaucracy in any of the ways its advocates hoped it would.’
      • ‘The extravagance of the court and the high cost of war absorbed all of France's resources and efforts to rationalize the tax system failed.’
      • ‘The printing process is not a core competency of ours, so we needed experts to rationalise the process fully.’
      • ‘So what, then, is the big problem with simply trying to rationalize the system?’
      streamline, make more efficient, improve the running of, trim, slim down, hone, make economies in, reduce wastage in, simplify
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  • 3Mathematics
    Convert (a function or expression) to a rational form.

    • ‘By generalizing the Onsager transport model we derived a set of equations that rationalize all pertinent observations.’
    • ‘He knew that when some irrational number produced a very large quotient then it could be rationalised to produce an extremely accurate approximation to some irrational.’
    • ‘I don't care about rationalising denominators with surds in them, and I don't care that by using maths induction you can prove many equations to be right or wrong.’
    • ‘These effects should be considered when rationalizing the physical significance of n.’