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rationalize (v.)

1767, "explain in a rational way, make conformable to reason," from rational + -ize. The psychological sense of "to give an explanation that conceals true motives" dates from 1922, on the notion of "cause to appear reasonable or socially acceptable." In 19c. Newman and Browning also used it with an intransitive sense of "think for oneself, employ one's reason as the supreme test." Related: Rationalized; rationalizer; rationalizing.

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Definitions of rationalize from WordNet

rationalize (v.)
defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning;
rationalize the child's seemingly crazy behavior
he rationalized his lack of success
rationalize (v.)
weed out unwanted or unnecessary things;
Synonyms: cut / prune / rationalise
rationalize (v.)
structure and run according to rational or scientific principles in order to achieve desired results;
We rationalized the factory's production and raised profits
Synonyms: rationalise
rationalize (v.)
think rationally; employ logic or reason;
When one wonders why one is doing certain things, one should rationalize
Synonyms: rationalise
rationalize (v.)
remove irrational quantities from;
This function can be rationalized
Synonyms: rationalise
From wordnet.princeton.edu