Definition of tenable in US English:



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

    ‘such a simplistic approach is no longer tenable’
    • ‘Arguments and sentiments used in the past to justify wars are no more tenable.’
    • ‘He rejected it emotionally, but he did not advance a single tenable argument.’
    • ‘In the future, the U.S. must fix goals which are tenable.’
    • ‘I have not found that defense to be tenable.’
    • ‘But in a globalized economy, old-fashioned isolationism just isn't tenable.’
    • ‘Some say this understanding is no longer tenable.’
    • ‘In my view, these grounds of objection are not legally tenable.’
    • ‘Coming up with a tenable power-sharing agreement will be difficult and time-consuming.’
    • ‘The question is genuinely debatable, with tenable argument supporting each side.’
    • ‘Mary's defence of mental disability was one that was tenable at law, if the evidence supported it.’
    • ‘The belief in the dignity and nobility of man no longer seemed tenable to most intellectuals.’
    • ‘This position is, I believe, no longer tenable.’
    • ‘I believe that over time that policy is going to change, because it's simply not tenable.’
    • ‘Though perhaps justified in the past, this worry is no longer tenable.’
    • ‘It is no longer tenable to ignore substance abuse.’
    • ‘I've got to find a more tenable compromise.’
    • ‘People eventually ended up opposing the war simply because the reasons for it became less and less tenable over time.’
    • ‘It was obvious that the deal was no longer 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.’
    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.

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


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