[ vahy-uh-buhl ]
/ ˈvaɪ ə bəl /


capable of living.
  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.
Botany. able to live and grow.
vivid; real; stimulating, as to the intellect, imagination, or senses: a period of history that few teachers can make viable for students.
practicable; workable: a viable alternative.
having the ability to grow, expand, develop, etc.: a new and viable country.

Nearby words

  1. vi et armis,
  2. via,
  3. via dolorosa,
  4. via media,
  5. viability,
  6. viaduct,
  7. viagra,
  8. vial,
  9. viand,
  10. viangchan

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for viable

British Dictionary definitions for viable


/ (ˈvaɪəbəl) /


capable of becoming actual, useful, etc; practicablea viable proposition
(of seeds, eggs, etc) capable of normal growth and development
(of a fetus) having reached a stage of development at which further development can occur independently of the mother
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 viable



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for viable


[ vīə-bəl ]


Capable of living, developing, or germinating under favorable conditions.
Capable of living outside the uterus. Used of a fetus or newborn.
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.