verb (used with object),ra·tion·al·ized,ra·tion·al·iz·ing.
to ascribe (one's acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that superficially seem reasonable and valid but that actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less creditable or agreeable causes.
Although rationalize retains its principal 19th-century senses “to make conformable to reason” and “to treat in a rational manner,” 20th-century psychology has given it the now more common meaning “to ascribe (one's acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that seem reasonable but actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious causes.” Although the possibility of ambiguity exists, the context will usually make clear which sense is intended.
chiefly British English spelling of rationalize. For suffix, see -ize. Related: Rationalised; rationalising; rationalisation.
chiefly British English spelling of rationalize; see -ize. Related: Rationalised; rationalising; rationalisation.
1767, "explain in a rational way, make conformable to reason," from rational + -ize. In the psychological sense of "to give an explanation that conceals true motives" it dates from 1922. Related: Rationalized; rationalizing.
To devise self-satisfying but false or inconsistent reasons for one's behavior, especially as an unconscious defense mechanism through which irrational acts or feelings are made to appear rational to oneself.
Related formsra′tion•al•i•za′tion (-lĭ-zā′shən) n.