9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ten-uh-buh l] /ˈtɛn ə bəl/
capable of being held, maintained, or defended, as against attack or dispute:
a tenable theory.
capable of being occupied, possessed, held, or enjoyed, as under certain conditions:
a research grant tenable for two years.
Origin of tenable
1570-80; < French: that can be held, equivalent to ten(ir) to hold (≪ Latin tenēre) + -able -able
Related forms
tenability, tenableness, noun
tenably, adverb
nontenability, noun
nontenable, adjective
nontenableness, noun
nontenably, adverb
1. workable, viable, maintainable, warrantable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tenable
  • The test is whether the position is tenable in the face of reasonable inquiry.
  • But rising weekend ridership has made that approach less tenable.
  • But ignoring the people's views is no longer tenable.
  • Because of the complexity of the problem, environmental skepticism was once tenable.
  • On what tenable ground such an opposition can be based, is some what difficult to imagine.
  • It is, however, a more tenable idea if that connection is still partly intact.
  • The vice-president has a tenable defence on both counts.
  • But the best of his plays are those in which it is clearest that either is to some extent tenable.
  • It is no longer tenable to maintain a blinkered commitment to the policy of free trade.
  • Yet the more the market grows, the less tenable that position becomes.
British Dictionary definitions for tenable


able to be upheld, believed, maintained, or defended
Derived Forms
tenability, tenableness, noun
tenably, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Old French, from tenir to hold, from Latin tenēre
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tenable

1570s, from Middle French tenable, from Old French (12c.), from tenir "to hold," from Latin tenere "hold, keep" (see tenet).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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