1. Capable of being maintained in argument; rationally defensible: a tenable theory.
2. Capable of being held against assault; defensible: a tenable outpost.
3. Capable of enduring or of being tolerated: a tenable situation.
[French, from Old French, from tenir, to hold, from Latin tenēre; see ten- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
ten′a·bili·ty, tena·ble·ness n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.