Viable Meaning: What Is the Meaning of “Viable”?

Curious about the word “viable”? It’s a term that’s all about potential and possibility. In this article, we’ll explore the world of “viable” and how it’s used in everyday English. Get ready to uncover the practical and workable side of the English language with us!

Key Takeaways

  • “Viable” pertains to the capability of living, sustaining, or succeeding.
  • It is important to distinguish “viable” from similar terms for proper usage.
  • The term is applied across various contexts to assess potential effectiveness.

Viable Meaning

Viable meaning

What Does Viable Mean?

“Viable” refers to the ability of something to work effectively, to function as intended, or to develop adequately. Here are specific contexts where the term is applied:

  • In business: A project or enterprise is viable if it is expected to be profitable and sustainable.
  • In biology: An organism or seed is viable if it has the potential to live and grow.
  • In medicine: A fetus is considered viable when it is capable of surviving outside the womb.

Origin of Viable

The term “viable” is derived from the Latin “vita,” meaning “life,” combined with the suffix “-able,” which translates to “able to.” This etymology emphasizes the word’s close association with the capability for life or continued existence.

Other Meanings of Viable

Beyond its primary connotations, “viable” can also broadly imply the feasibility of an idea or plan. Here, it characterizes anything that has a reasonable chance of success or can independently sustain itself across various fields, including:

  • Political: A viable candidate is one who has a considerable likelihood of winning an election.
  • Environmental: Viable ecosystems are those that can support life forms and maintain biodiversity.

Commonly Confused Terms with Viable

Viable vs. Feasible

Viable refers to the ability of something to live, grow, or develop. It can denote biological growth or the sustainability of ideas or plans. In contrast, feasible implies that something is possible or practical to do, often emphasizing the absence of prohibitive factors that make an action achievable. For example:

  • Viable: A seed must be viable for it to germinate.
  • Feasible: It is feasible to complete the project within the budget.

Viable vs. Workable

Workable suggests a plan or idea that can be successfully implemented. It’s akin to feasible but with a practical slant, implying functionality. While something viable has the capacity to thrive or exist, workable means it can be functionally applied. For instance:

  • Viable: An ecosystem is viable if it supports diverse life forms.
  • Workable: A strategy is workable if it can be put into action efficiently.

Viable vs. Practical

Practical focuses on the applicability of solutions in real-life scenarios. It often refers to approaches that are sensible and realistic. Viable, however, maintains its link to viability or ability to sustain life or success over time. For example:

  • Viable: A business model is viable if it can sustain itself and profit.
  • Practical: A solution is practical when it can be easily and effectively executed.

Viable Examples

In Conversations

In Professional Contexts:

  • Person 1: “We’ve talked about the new marketing strategy. Do you think it could work with what we have?”
  • Person 2: “Yeah, I believe it’s a viable solution given our current resources.”

In Everyday Dialogue:

  • Person 1: “I was thinking about going camping this weekend, but with the heavy rain forecast, it doesn’t seem like a good idea.”
  • Person 2: “Yeah, considering the heavy rain, camping doesn’t seem like a viable option.”

In Texting and Social Posts


  • “I don’t think that plan is viable without more resources.”
  • “Do you think it’s viable for us to meet up tonight?”

Social Posts:

  • “Excited to explore viable solutions for sustainable living! #EcoFriendly”
  • “Looking for viable job opportunities in the tech industry. Any leads appreciated! #JobSearch”

Other Examples of “Viable”

  • In Academic Writing: “The researchers concluded that the prototype demonstrated viable applications for remote sensing.”
  • In Policy Discussions: “The committee must present viable approaches to addressing the housing crisis.”

Usage of Viable in Different Contexts

In Business and Projects:

  • Feasibility: We often use the word viable to determine whether a business model or project can sustain itself and succeed. For example, “Our startup needs to explore other revenue streams to remain viable.”
  • Solution Appraisal: In the planning phase, we may describe a plan that is expected to be effective as a viable solution.

In Biology and Medicine:

  • Capability of Life: It describes organisms or cells that have the capacity to live and grow. For example, “This species of plant produces viable seeds that can withstand harsh conditions.”
  • Development Stage: In medicine, a fetus is termed viable if it has reached a developmental stage where it can survive outside the womb.

In Politics:

  • Electability: We use viable to talk about the chances of a candidate in elections. “She is a viable candidate due to her extensive political experience.”

In General Debate:

  • Alternatives Evaluation: When considering different options, if one is practical and can be successful, we call it a viable alternative. “Renewable energy is a viable alternative to fossil fuels.”

More About Viable Terminology

Related Terms to Viable

  • Feasibility: This refers to the practicality and possibility of a plan or project, much like the aspects of viability assessing if something can sustainably function.
  • Sustainability: A sustainable process or state can be maintained at a certain level, akin to a viable operation maintaining its effectiveness over time.
  • Practicability: Similar to viable, it denotes whether an action or method is realistic or achievable.

Synonyms for Viable

  • Workable: Indicates that something can be operated or implemented effectively.
  • Practicable: Suggests that something can be done or put into action.
  • Executable: Means capable of being carried out or put into effect.

Antonyms for Viable

  • Unfeasible: Implies that something is not practical or achievable.
  • Impracticable: Denotes that an action or plan cannot be put into operation.
  • Infeasible: Indicates lack of possibility to be accomplished or dealt with successfully.
  • Unworkable: Suggests that something cannot function satisfactorily or effectively.