Definition of unreason in US English:



  • Inability to act or think reasonably.

    • ‘Like the fascists that they are, the murderers boast that they love death more than we love life. They imagine that this yell of unreason is intimidating and impressive.’
    • ‘This is not necessarily the triumph of unreason.’
    • ‘How many parents imagine that beyond the frustrations of the teenage years there is some Nirvana without worry or unreason?’
    • ‘It launches him on a search into strange folkways of the Greek mind, that unreason which gave rise to their more admired life of reason’
    • ‘Not reason, but unreason is man's primary attribute - not only man's but all western civilization as well.’
    • ‘Sanity shadowed by unreason is the theme of another novel about a day in London: Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway.’
    • ‘Dostoevsky's novel is founded on unreason: Dimitri Karamazov submits to being tried for the murder of his father even when he knows himself to be innocent.’
    • ‘It has the power to choose reason over unreason, and truth over fiction.’
    • ‘It's never easy to put a dream on hold but the state of the British residential property market dictates that the individual home owner should take a hard stand against the forces of unreason.’
    • ‘Fred Daniels and the reader have completed the modernist journey from reason to unreason, reaching an inevitable and final destination.’
    • ‘Condon takes a sympathetic line, though, in his absorbing cine-biography which promotes the view that however muddled he was, Kinsey was brave to try using scientific methods to explain sex in an age of unreason.’
    • ‘The French philosopher is dead, but his legacy lives on in the age of unreason.’
    • ‘Medicine and witchcraft, pharmacology and demonology, reason and unreason struck an odd alliance.’
    • ‘The real culprits are the leaders of opinion, who run scared of the fight against unreason instead of standing strong and pushing for what they know to be right.’
    • ‘Of course we must detect, prevent and expunge it as best we can - but it is a monstrous force of unreason beyond arguing with.’
    • ‘But progressives must not seek victory by appealing to intolerance and unreason and rejecting the traditions of the Enlightenment that we alone seem to embrace today.’
    • ‘Like these literary predecessors, Fred Daniels confronts reason and unreason, rationality and sensuality, society and nature.’
    • ‘It's the age of unreason the Left has long predicted.’
    • ‘Enlightenment values are in peril not because these mad beliefs are really growing but because too many rational people seek to appease and understand unreason.’
    • ‘That is why democratic theory has always warned against the rule of unreason, against majoritarian designs, against the invocation of divisive strategies.’


Middle English (in the senses ‘unreasonable intention’ and ‘impropriety’): from un- ‘lack of’ + reason.