Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Capable of being maintained in argument; rationally defensible: a tenable theory.
  • adj. Capable of being held against assault; defensible: a tenable outpost.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. capable of being maintained or justified; well-founded
  • adj. capable of being defended against assault or attack; defensible

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Capable of being held, maintained, or defended, as against an assailant or objector, or against attempts to take or process.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Capable of being held, maintained, or defended successfully against an assailant; successfully defensible against attacks or arguments or objections: as, a tenable fortress; a tenable theory.
  • Held; retained; kept secret or inviolate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. based on sound reasoning or evidence

Etymologies

French, from Old French, from tenir, to hold, from Latin tenēre; see ten- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the French tenable, from tenir ("to hold"); compare tenible. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • What seems no longer tenable is the romantic, idealized idea of fatherhood once associated with “The Godfather,” where the passionate mutual devotion of fathers and sons seemed completely of a piece with the relentless pursuit of power and destruction of the enemy.

    They Keep Pulling Us Back In … | PopPolitics.com

  • Is the idea tenable that the Creator has no comprehension of what is manifested in creation?

    The Promulgation of Universal Peace

  • Still less is the notion tenable of any special improbability applying to this particular pretension.

    Theological Essays and Other Papers — Volume 1

  • In which case, all I know is to state and establish the 'tenable' group's place ( 'tenets') and attract whoever comes to stand on it.

    OpEdNews - Diary: Some Truth For A Change

  • The majority says that the equal protection argument is "tenable", if that counts as an endorsement, then there are 6 votes for treating gay people as entitled to equal protection under the Constitution.

    History of Same Sex Marriage Jurisprudence

  • It was, indeed, not considered, to use a technical word, "tenable," and there was no rent to pay for living in it.

    Solomon Crow's Christmas Pockets and Other Tales

  • Describing Chinese currency policy as not "tenable" and saying the country was now "too large" to base growth on exports, Geithner said reform was in both countries' interests.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • The "no-strings-attached" fellowship, awarded to undergraduate and first-year graduate students studying engineering or the applied sciences, can be used to fund graduate study at one of roughly 50 schools deemed "tenable" by the Hertz Foundation.

    The Daily Princetonian, 2010-03-26

  • Alternatively, a charge could be issued for downloading files from the likes of iTunes, but insiders say it is not politically 'tenable', since it would mean a direct hit on consumers pockets.

    Gates of Vienna

  • Others suggested that the Congress had so far considered Nitish as its only prospective and "tenable" ally - the Biju Janata Dal, the ADMK and the Bahujan Samaj Party were not on its radar as of today.

    The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) - Frontpage

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.