- that cannot be held, defended, or maintained
- incapable of being tenanted or occupied
If you have a weak argument that falls apart as soon as anyone expresses any skepticism, this is an example of when you have anuntenable argument.
- Not capable of being maintained or defended: an untenable position.
- Not capable of being occupied or lived in: untenable quarters.
- Usage Problem Insupportable; intolerable.
- un·ten′a·bil′i·ty un·ten′a·ble·ness
Usage Note: The word untenable has recently been applied to various situations with the meaning “not capable of being coped with; insupportable.” This meaning (which is not far from the traditional sense of “incapable of being maintained”) has become codified in the locution untenable situation. In our 2005 survey, fully 91 percent of the Usage Panel found this expression acceptable in the sentence The job offer left her in an untenable situation: She must either move away from her child or forgo her dream of becoming a film director. But the Panel had little enthusiasm when untenable was extended in its application with this meaning. Only 19 percent accepted the sentence Another untenable tragedy in the region is that children have dropped out of school to become soldiers. The Panel became even less sanguine when untenable was applied to an emotional burden, with just 12 percent accepting When I saw the destruction from the storm, a sense of untenable sadness washed over me.
(comparative more untenable, superlative most untenable)
- Not able to be held, as of an opinion or position; unholdable, indefensible.
- The theory of cold fusion was untenable.
- Nouns often used with "controversial": argument, doctrine, theory, hypothesis, view, position, notion, etc..
un- +"Ž tenable
- On the 21st of January Dr Saenz Pena at last perceived that his position was untenable, and he handed in his resignation.
- And "reality," the current accounts of which it finds untenable or unmeaning.
- None the less is the position in itself an untenable one and the parent of scepticism.
- Finding his position there to be untenable, he retreated still farther to the country of his own tribe, while his rival advanced to Ispahan, where he received the submission of nearly all the chief cities of Persia.
- In this endeavour Lotze discards as useless and untenable many favourite conceptions of the school, many crude notions of everyday life.