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90s Slang You Should Know


[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
First recorded in 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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for untenable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But this is a sentiment which—except in the mere matter of buying and selling—time will show to be untenable.

    Mexico Charles Reginald Enock
  • Then when you found a part of your theory was untenable you rejected the whole of it.

    The Four Pools Mystery Jean Webster
  • It is hard to bring such men to see how untenable their own position is.

    Pietro Ghisleri F. (Francis) Marion Crawford
  • Calendar surrendered an untenable position as gracefully as could be wished.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • He saw in a moment that she was right, and an untenable relief passed over him.

    Day and Night Stories Algernon Blackwood
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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