Why was clemency trending last week?


[uhn-ten-uh-buh l] /ʌnˈtɛn ə bəl/
incapable of being defended, as an argument, thesis, etc.; indefensible.
not fit to be occupied, as an apartment, house, etc.
Origin of untenable
1640-50; un-1 + tenable
Related forms
untenability, untenableness, noun
1. baseless, groundless, unsound, weak, questionable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for untenable
  • The falls might have saved the forests by making logging there untenable.
  • The stop-snitching movement is untenable as social policy.
  • It goes without saying that the vision was untenable.
  • What will never ease hatred and violence is the untenable status quo.
  • But as software becomes vital to many aspects of our lives, this situation seems to become more and more untenable.
  • Pure replacement and pure cultural diffusion seems untenable as a robust explanation.
  • Say you are agnostic, but to claim the negative is untenable.
  • Other instances abound, but to deny the role of faith in everyday life is untenable.
  • They don't seem to understand that the status quo is untenable.
  • Sea changes in policy, such as decriminalization or legalization of drugs, look politically untenable.
British Dictionary definitions for untenable


(of theories, propositions, etc) incapable of being maintained, defended, or vindicated
unable to be maintained against attack
(rare) (of a house, etc) unfit for occupation
Derived Forms
untenability, untenableness, noun
untenably, adverb
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 untenable

1640s, "incapable of being held against attack," from un- (1) "not" + past participle of tenable. Figurative sense is recorded from 1690s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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