The Meaning of Viable: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of viable? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word viable, including its definition, usage, word origin, and more!

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What does the word viable mean?

According to the American Heritage unabridged dictionary of the English language as well as other English dictionaries like Collins English Dictionary, the word viable is an adjective that means feasible, having normal conditions, or capable of becoming actual as in something that is practical or capable of normal growth and development. The word viable can also be used to refer to a viable fetus, which is a fetus that has reached a stage of development such that it can live independently of its mother’s uterus. The suffixes ty and bly can be added to the end of the word viable to form the related noun and adverb viability (n.) and viably (adv.). Viable is three syllables – vi-a-ble, and the pronunciation of viable is ˈvaɪəbəl. Many things can be viable, including a viable population, viable solution, a viable system, a viable career path, a viable bidding strategy, a viable proposition, viable ideas, a viable economy, a number of viable cells, a viable infant and more. 

There are many different languages that contain words meaning viable. You may notice that some of these words look or sound similar to the word viable. These are called cognates. Cognates are words that look and sound similar between languages and retain the same meaning. These are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations for the word viable is provided by Word Sense

  •  Spanish: viable‎
  •  Catalan: viable‎
  •  Dutch: levensvatbaar‎
  •  French: viable‎
  •  Danish: levedygtig‎
  •  Portuguese: viável‎
  •  Italian: vivibile‎
  •  Hungarian: életképes‎
  •  Russian: жизнеспособный‎
  •  Estonian: eluvõimeline‎, elujõuline‎
  •  Czech: životaschopný‎ (masc.)
  •  German: selbständig‎
  •  Esperanto: vivipova‎
  •  Swedish: genomförbar‎
  •  Finnish: elinkelpoinen‎
  •  Russian: жизнеспособный‎

What is the origin of the word viable?

According to Etymonline, the word viable has been used since c19. This word comes from the old French viable, meaning capable of life, from the Latin vie life and Latin vīta/vita life, from the Proto-Indo-European roots gwei meaning to live, which also spurred the Medieval Latin vitabilis.

How can the word viable be used in a sentence?

The word viable can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definition. You can also try making a quiz or flashcards for yourself to study and test your knowledge on different definitions. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. Below are many examples of viable to get you started!

In that period of history, it was rare for a fetus to have a viable development of organs. It was only with the advent of medical technology that we got the chance of an increased population.

Sharma’s career in the agency world was not viable because he was not willing to be treated like a punching bag to “earn his place.” With a long-range view this may be considered fooling, but he did not want to perpetuate the cycle of violence. He decides to join the government folks in the Parks and Recreation department.

Her lack of sleep and constant studying was not a viable option if she was going to keep being a student at Princeton University. She was trying to grow her intellect, but that was impossible on 3 hours of sleep a night.

What are synonyms and antonyms of the word viable?

There are many different words and phrases that one can use in place of the word viable. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another given word or phrase. Synonyms are a great tool to use to avoid repeating oneself, as well as to quickly expand one’s vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word viable is provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  able to hold water
  •  operational
  •  achievable
  •  effective
  •  valid
  •  manageable
  •  sustainability
  •  within reach
  •  stable
  •  useful
  •  active
  •  within the realms of possibility
  •  workable
  •  cost-effective
  •  arguable
  •  credible
  •  sound
  •  well-founded
  •  doable
  •  operative
  •  accessible
  •  believable
  •  able to be done
  •  sensible
  •  accomplishable
  •  profitable
  •  executable
  •  fructifying
  •  applicable
  •  practicability
  •  likely
  •  economic
  •  practicable
  •  animate
  •  reachable
  •  economical
  •  sustainable
  •  in a job
  •  reasonable
  •  feasibility
  •  obtainable
  •  achievability
  •  performable
  •  commercial
  •  feasible
  •  realistic
  •  open
  •  probable
  •  living
  •  bread-and-butter
  •  possible
  •  realizable
  •  plausible
  •  alive and kicking
  •  appropriate
  •  zoetic
  •  conscious
  •  alive
  •  defensible
  •  live
  •  functioning
  •  supportable
  •  intact
  •  growing
  •  justifiable
  •  tenable
  •  impregnable
  •  suitable
  •  usable
  •  rational
  •  acceptable
  •  practical
  •  in gear
  •  secure
  •  attainable
  •  real
  •  actual
  •  functional
  •  in service
  •  viably
  •  expedient
  •  imaginable
  •  serviceable
  •  well grounded
  •  operable
  •  vital
  •  in working order
  •  steady
  •  impracticable
  •  crescive
  •  conceivable
  •  working
  •  renewable
  •  maintainable
  •  strong
  •  breathing
  •  existent
  •  realisable
  •  defendable
  •  enforceable

There are also numerous different words that mean the opposite of the word viable. These opposite words are called antonyms. Antonyms are another great tool to learn to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of opposite words for the word viable is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  mad
  •  unworkable
  •  inaccurate
  •  abnormal
  •  abysmal
  •  barking mad
  •  dreadful
  •  inconceivable
  •  demented
  •  crazed
  •  angry
  •  illogical
  •  deranged
  •  loony
  •  maniacal
  •  foolish
  •  ridiculous
  •  lost
  •  away with the fairies
  •  insane
  •  beyond a shadow of a doubt
  •  at rest
  •  hopeless
  •  maniac
  •  lift doesn’t go all the way to the top
  •  idiotic
  •  kicking dicks
  •  impossible
  •  dead
  •  impracticable
  •  absurd
  •  as mad as a march hare
  •  brainsick
  •  unreasonable
  •  mental
  •  hardly likely
  •  irrational
  •  unachievable
  •  lunatic
  •  infeasible
  •  impractical
  •  absolutely impossible
  •  non-realistic
  •  haggard
  •  non-working
  •  unsustainable
  •  nonrealistic
  •  unfeasible
  •  crazy
  •  mad as a hatter

Overall, the word viable means having normal development  or normal conditions under which something can achieve further development, such as such form of the development or organs or a fetus. This term can be used literally or figuratively.


  1. Viable definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  2. Viable synonyms – 436 Words and Phrases for Viable | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Viable antonyms – 159 Opposites of Viable | Power Thesaurus 
  4. viable: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  5. viable | Origin and meaning of viable | Online Etymology Dictionary