[ 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.

Origin of viable

1820–30; < French, equivalent to vie life (< Latin vīta) + -able -able

Related forms

vi·a·bil·i·ty, nounvi·a·bly, adverbun·vi·a·ble, adjective

Can be confused

feasible 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 Forms

viability, 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

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 forms

vi′a•bili•ty n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.