Simple Definition of tenable
: capable of being defended against attack or criticism
Examples of tenable in a sentence
<the soldiers' encampment on the open plain was not tenable, so they retreated to higher ground>
<the tenable theory that a giant meteor strike set off a chain of events resulting in the demise of the dinosaurs>
Did You Know?
Tenable means "holdable". In the past it was often used in a physical sense—for example, to refer to a city that an army was trying to "hold" militarily against an enemy force. But nowadays it's almost always used when speaking of "held" ideas and theories. If you hold an opinion but evidence appears that completely contradicts it, your opinion is no longer tenable. So, for example, the old ideas that cancer is infectious or that being bled by leeches can cure your whooping cough now seem untenable.
Origin and Etymology of tenable
Middle French, from Old French, from tenir to hold, from Latin tenēre — more at thin
First Known Use: 1579
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