• synonyms


  1. capable of living.
  2. Physiology.
    1. physically fitted to live.
    2. (of a fetus) having reached such a stage of development as to be capable of living, under normal conditions, outside the uterus.
  3. Botany. able to live and grow.
  4. vivid; real; stimulating, as to the intellect, imagination, or senses: a period of history that few teachers can make viable for students.
  5. practicable; workable: a viable alternative.
  6. having the ability to grow, expand, develop, etc.: a new and viable country.
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Origin of viable

1820–30; < French, equivalent to vie life (< Latin vīta) + -able -able
Related formsvi·a·bil·i·ty, nounvi·a·bly, adverbun·vi·a·ble, adjective
Can be confusedfeasible viable

Synonyms for viable

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unviable

Historical Examples of unviable

  • By foetus immaturus here he means an unviable foetus, as is evident from the context.

    Essays In Pastoral Medicine

    Austin Malley

  • May the physician call in a physician who, he knows, will not scruple to perform the therapeutic abortion on an unviable fetus?

British Dictionary definitions for unviable


  1. not capable of succeeding, esp financiallythe pit had proved economically unviable
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  1. capable of becoming actual, useful, etc; practicablea viable proposition
  2. (of seeds, eggs, etc) capable of normal growth and development
  3. (of a fetus) having reached a stage of development at which further development can occur independently of the mother
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Derived Formsviability, noun

Word Origin for viable

C19: from French, from vie life, from Latin vīta
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

Word Origin and History for unviable



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

unviable in Medicine


  1. Capable of living, developing, or germinating under favorable conditions.
  2. Capable of living outside the uterus. Used of a fetus or newborn.
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Related formsvi′a•bili•ty n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.