1828, from French viable "capable of life" (1530s), from vie "life" (from Latin vita "life;" see vital) + -able. Originally of newborn infants; generalized sense is first recorded 1848. Related: Viably; viability.
viable vi·a·ble (vī'ə-bəl)adj.
Capable of living, developing, or germinating under favorable conditions.
Capable of living outside the uterus. Used of a fetus or newborn.