Definition of tenable in English:



  • 1Able to be maintained or defended against attack or objection.

    ‘such a simplistic approach is no longer tenable’
    • ‘Some say this understanding is no longer tenable.’
    • ‘The question is genuinely debatable, with tenable argument supporting each side.’
    • ‘I believe that over time that policy is going to change, because it's simply not tenable.’
    • ‘The facts simply do not make out a tenable cause of action against this defendant.’
    • ‘It is tenable to object to embryo research on ethical grounds.’
    • ‘In my view, these grounds of objection are not legally tenable.’
    • ‘Though perhaps justified in the past, this worry is no longer tenable.’
    • ‘This position is, I believe, no longer tenable.’
    • ‘It was obvious that the deal was no longer tenable.’
    • ‘He rejected it emotionally, but he did not advance a single tenable argument.’
    • ‘Mary's defence of mental disability was one that was tenable at law, if the evidence supported it.’
    • ‘People eventually ended up opposing the war simply because the reasons for it became less and less tenable over time.’
    • ‘Arguments and sentiments used in the past to justify wars are no more tenable.’
    • ‘The belief in the dignity and nobility of man no longer seemed tenable to most intellectuals.’
    • ‘I've got to find a more tenable compromise.’
    • ‘But in a globalized economy, old-fashioned isolationism just isn't tenable.’
    • ‘I have not found that defense to be tenable.’
    • ‘In the future, the U.S. must fix goals which are tenable.’
    • ‘It is no longer tenable to ignore substance abuse.’
    • ‘Coming up with a tenable power-sharing agreement will be difficult and time-consuming.’
    defensible, justifiable, defendable, supportable, sustainable, maintainable, arguable, able to hold water, reasonable, rational, sound, viable, workable, plausible, credible, believable, conceivable, acceptable, imaginable
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  • 2(of an office, position, scholarship, etc.) able to be held or used.

    ‘a scholarship of £200 per annum tenable for three years’
    • ‘The scholarships, which are awarded in the former English colonial territories, USA and Germany, are tenable at the University of Oxford.’
    • ‘The government is offering the scholarships in physical education tenable at Cuban universities for the academic year 2004 / 2005.’
    • ‘All the land that was tenable was taken by former generations and not for sale.’
    • ‘A draw was held for two half scholarships, tenable at the Adult Education College.’
    • ‘His final and lasting legacy was the establishment of the Rhodes Scholarships tenable at his alma mater, Oxford University.’
    • ‘The scholarships are tenable at Oxford University.’
    • ‘The badminton ace has won a three-year International Badminton Federation scholarship tenable in China.’


Late 16th century: from French, from tenir to hold, from Latin tenere.