viable

adjective

vi·​a·​ble ˈvī-ə-bəl How to pronounce viable (audio)
1
a
: capable of living
a viable skin graft
viable offspring
b
of a fetus : having attained such form and development of organs as to be normally capable of surviving outside the uterus
a 26-week old viable fetus
c
: capable of growing or developing
viable seeds
viable eggs
2
a
: capable of working, functioning, or developing adequately
viable alternatives
b
: capable of existence and development as an independent unit
The colony is now a viable state.
c(1)
: having a reasonable chance of succeeding
a viable candidate
(2)
: financially sustainable
a viable enterprise
viably adverb

Examples of viable in a Sentence

The departure point for a viable peace deal—either with Syria or the Palestinians—must not be based purely on what the political traffic in Israel will bear, but on the requirements of all sides. Aaron David Miller, Newsweek, 12 Jan. 2009
As gene therapy begins to enjoy some preliminary successes, scientists at the World Anti-Doping Agency, which oversees drug testing for the Olympics, have started to worry that dopers might now see abuse of gene therapy in sport as a viable option, though the practice was banned by WADA in 2003. Patrick Barry, Science News, 2 Aug. 2008
Under today's forest management practices, few trees die natural deaths and fewer still attain the girth of the old-growth trees that supported the ivory-bill. The sad fact is that there is really no place in the United States today where a viable population of ivory-bills could persist even if captive reared birds were on hand to stock a release program. John Terborgh, New York Review of Books, 26 Apr. 2007
To ponder [John] Updike's work in now old-fashioned sociopolitical terms, it might be said that he examines our struggle to maintain a viable center for our inner life while enduring the most revolutionary force in history—American capitalism. Robert Stone, New York Times Book Review, 18 June 2006
At stake is the survival of our civilization and the habitability of the Earth. Or, as one eminent scientist put it, the pending question is whether the combination of an opposable thumb and a neocortex is a viable combination on this planet. Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006
When a patient agrees to forego a bed at the Portland VA—so far 75% of viable candidates have agreed to do so—a small "strike force" swings into action. The patient is sent home, typically with various medicines, oxygen tanks, and sometimes, a mobile X-ray machine. A nurse visits every day to perform tests, provide IV infusions and monitor medications. As a backup, a physician is on 24-hour standby for emergencies. Gautam Naik, Wall Street Journal, 19 Apr. 2006
Another truth is that corks expire with age. A few wineries recognize that fact and recork their library wines every 25 years or so, but that's not a viable process for most collectors. James Laube, Wine Spectator, 31 Mar. 2005
a viable solution to the problem He could not suggest a viable alternative. Is she a viable candidate?
Recent Examples on the Web Kate Martin is pretty good, but the Hawkeyes have few viable options if Clark is not being absolutely great. Greg Cote, Miami Herald, 9 Apr. 2024 Invented in the 1950s and refined in the 1980s to produce gem-quality diamonds, CVD has been commercially viable for about 15 years. Victoria Gomelsky, Robb Report, 5 Apr. 2024 With Israel’s cooperation, the route was emerging as a slow but viable option to deliver aid – until the airstrike killed the WCK workers. Nadeen Ebrahim, CNN, 4 Apr. 2024 Cook was turned away from a hospital in December 2022 when her water broke around 16 weeks of pregnancy, long before a fetus is viable. Caroline Kitchener, Washington Post, 2 Apr. 2024 While replacement warranties aren’t uncommon for sunglass brands, this one is extensive and viable for the lifetime of the item. Kyle Russell, USA TODAY, 1 Apr. 2024 And this could make the medicine, which is only viable for about 2% of ALS patients, much harder to win approval. Meghana Keshavan, STAT, 1 Apr. 2024 The flashlight came with five light settings: ultra-low, low, medium, high, and turbo, each of which are viable for different situations. Jack Byram, Better Homes & Gardens, 31 Mar. 2024 The new bridge was built to withstand up to 40 tons, 15 tons more than before, making the route a viable alternative to the highway. Dylan Wickman, The Arizona Republic, 28 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'viable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

French, from Middle French, from vie life, from Latin vita — more at vital

First Known Use

circa 1832, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of viable was circa 1832

Dictionary Entries Near viable

Cite this Entry

“Viable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/viable. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

viable

adjective
vi·​a·​ble ˈvī-ə-bəl How to pronounce viable (audio)
1
: capable of living
especially : capable of surviving outside the mother's womb
a viable human fetus
2
: capable of growing or developing
viable seeds
viable eggs
3
a
: capable of being put into practice : workable
a viable solution to the problem
b
: capable of succeeding
a viable candidate
viability noun

Medical Definition

viable

adjective
vi·​a·​ble ˈvī-ə-bəl How to pronounce viable (audio)
1
: capable of living
the skin graft was viable
viable cancer cells
especially : having attained such form and development as to be normally capable of surviving outside the uterus
a 26-week old viable fetus
2
: capable of growing or developing
viable eggs

More from Merriam-Webster on viable

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