tenable

adjective ten·a·ble \ ˈte-nə-bəl \

Definition of tenable

:capable of being held, maintained, or defended :defensible, reasonable

tenability

play \ˌte-nə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun

tenableness

noun

tenably

play \ˈte-nə-blē\ adverb

Examples of tenable in a Sentence

  1. the soldiers' encampment on the open plain was not tenable, so they retreated to higher ground

  2. the tenable theory that a giant meteor strike set off a chain of events resulting in the demise of the dinosaurs

Recent Examples of tenable from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tenable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Hold Onto the Meaning of tenable

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


TENABLE Defined for English Language Learners

tenable

adjective

Definition of tenable for English Language Learners

  • : capable of being defended against attack or criticism



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serious difficulty or misfortune

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