Definition of viable in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈvʌɪəb(ə)l/


1Capable of working successfully; feasible: the proposed investment was economically viable
More example sentences
  • This view is not derived from a sense of optimism, but from a realisation that viable alternatives need to be developed to reduce car usage and pollution.
  • I looked at the Dem candidates and realized there is no viable alternative for me.
  • So, is there is a viable future for alternative operators in the United Kingdom?
workable, feasible, practicable, practical, applicable, usable, manageable, operable, operational, possible, within the bounds/realms of possibility, within reach, within reason, likely, achievable, attainable, accomplishable, realizable, reasonable, sensible, realistic, logical, useful, of use, serviceable, suitable, expedient, effective, valid, tenable;
sound, well advised, well thought out, well grounded, judicious, level-headed, wise
informal doable
1.1 Botany (Of a seed or spore) able to germinate: most clones can produce thousands of viable seeds
More example sentences
  • Dashed segments of the line indicate where viable seeds do not germinate at low temperatures.
  • Dormancy is defined as the inability of a viable seed to germinate under conditions otherwise adequate for germination.
  • The plants that survived appeared phenotypically normal in all growth phases and produce viable seed that germinated normally.
1.2 Biology (Of a plant, animal, or cell) capable of surviving or living successfully, especially under particular environmental conditions: the largest and most viable population of this endangered vetch little of the frozen semen has been viable when thawed
More example sentences
  • An aliquot of the cell suspension was removed and the number of viable cells determined by trypan blue exclusion.
  • It follows from the conclusion reached above that the physiological changes that occur during senescence are those of viable cells and tissues.
  • In addition, their long shelf life eventually might translate into a reduced number of viable cells.
1.3 Medicine (Of a fetus or unborn child) able to live after birth: what if the fetus were viable?
More example sentences
  • If significant placental abruption occurs, a viable fetus should be delivered immediately.
  • Surgery for intractable disease should be delayed until the fetus is viable.
  • A provisional diagnosis of missed abortion was made, but an ultrasound scan subsequently revealed viable triplets.



Example sentences
  • However, he thinks the Steiner community should focus primarily on securing tenure of land, building new facilities and developing a business plan to show how their school can work viably in the long term.
  • The only point of criticism I can viably utter is that I thought there were some decoration ‘mismatches’ like the curtains or the garden lamps attached to the walls.
  • It is becoming increasingly urgent that we get collection centres established in order to move small lots of stock off farms which cannot reasonably or viably be carted halfway across the country for slaughter.


Early 19th century: from French, from vie 'life', from Latin vita.

  • This is based on French vie ‘life’, from Latin vita. The literal sense is ‘able to live’; the sense ‘workable, practicable’ arose in the mid 19th century.

Words that rhyme with viable

dyeable, flyable, friable, liable, pliable, triable

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: vi¦able

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