"Such a system would mark a breakthrough in efforts to come up with a commercially viable replacement for internal-combustion engines" (Newsweek). Properly, viable does not mean feasible or workable or promising, senses in which it is frequently used. It means capable of independent existence, and its use really ought to be confined to that meaning. Even when it is correctly used, it tends to make the sentence read like a government document, as here: "Doing nothing about the latter threatens the viability of the lakes and woodlands of the northeastern states" (Chicago Tribune). Deleting "the viability of" would shorten the sentence without altering its sense.

Dictionary of troublesome word. . 2013.

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  • viable — [ vjabl ] adj. • 1537; de vie 1 ♦ Apte à vivre (⇒ 2. viabilité). Après le 180e jour de la grossesse, l enfant est légalement reconnu viable. Hybrides viables mais inféconds. 2 ♦ Qui présente les conditions nécessaires pour durer, se développer. ⇒ …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • viable — vi‧a‧ble [ˈvaɪəbl] adjective 1. a viable plan, system, suggestion etc is realistic and therefore may succeed: • We had two months to come up with a viable proposal for saving the factory. • If investors find that approach viable, there are no… …   Financial and business terms

  • viable — [vī′ə bəl] adj. [Fr, likely to live < vie, life < L vita: see VITAL] 1. able to live; specif., a) having developed sufficiently within the uterus to be able to live and continue normal development outside the uterus [a premature but viable… …   English World dictionary

  • viable — adj. embriol. Dícese del feto recién nacido que dado su grado de desarrollo, es capaz de vivir fuera del útero. Medical Dictionary. 2011. viable …   Diccionario médico

  • Viable — Vi a*ble, a. [F., from vie life, L. vita. See {Vital}.] (Law) Capable of living; born alive and with such form and development of organs as to be capable of living; said of a newborn, or a prematurely born, infant. [1913 Webster] Note: Unless he… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • viable — I adjective acceptable, actable, alive, appropriate, apt, capable of development, capable of growth, conceivable, doable, effective, effectual, efficacious, encouraging, expedient, favorable, feasible, functional, imaginable, legitimate, likely,… …   Law dictionary

  • viable — (adj.) 1828, from Fr. viable capable of life (1530s), from vie life (from L. vita life; see VITAL (Cf. vital)) + ABLE (Cf. able). Originally of newborn infants; generalized sense is first recorded 1848 …   Etymology dictionary

  • viable — is a 19c loanword from French, and was first used to describe a fetus or newborn child that was capable of maintaining life. Metaphorical uses developed in the 19c, but it was not until the 1940s that it became a vogue word applied to a whole… …   Modern English usage

  • viable — [adj] reasonable, practicable applicable, doable, feasible, operable, possible, usable, within possibility, workable; concepts 552,560 Ant. impossible, unachievable, unpractical, unreasonable …   New thesaurus

  • viable — ► ADJECTIVE 1) capable of working successfully; feasible. 2) Biology (of a plant, animal, or cell) capable of surviving or living successfully. DERIVATIVES viability noun viably adverb. ORIGIN French, from vie life …   English terms dictionary

  • viable — 01. Wind generated power is not yet financially [viable] on a large scale in this country. 02. Grains of wheat discovered in the great pyramids of Egypt were found to still be [viable] thousands of years after they were placed there. 03. The… …   Grammatical examples in English

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