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un- +‎ tenable



untenable (comparative more untenable, superlative most untenable)

  1. Not able to be held, as of an opinion or position; unholdable, indefensible.
    The theory of cold fusion was untenable.
    • 1970, Gary Schwartz, Sect Ideologies and Social Status[1], page 219:
      They are seeking to escape from the unpleasant implications of an untenable status dilemma. They desire but cannot afford a prestigious social status.
    • 1998, Susan Goodman, Ellen Glasgow: a biography[2], page 149:
      The rumors about Anderson nevertheless placed Glasgow in an untenable social position, for close friends either suspected or knew of their engagement.
    • 2012, Heather A. Brown, Marx on Gender and the Family: A Critical Study[3], page 183:
      The modern family would be an artificial and untenable social structure in this early period, just as the clan appears to be an artificial institution in our own society.
  2. Unfit for habitation
    • 1915, Edward Frederic Benson, The Oakleyites[4], page 84:
      [] ceilings, staircases, all that make a house habitable had vanished in the flare of his conflagration, and since his soul could no longer dwell there, it dwelt instead, so to speak, in the pleasant garden which surrounded the untenable house.
    • 1939, Hygeia[5], volume 17, number 1-6, page 331:
      The floor was a veritable mud puddle, and even the meager bedding of old reindeer skins was wet from the dripping walls and ceiling. This untenable dwelling housed a family of six Eskimos: a grandmother, father and mother and three children.
    • 2007, Roger White, Britannia Prima: Britain's Last Roman Province[6], page 192:
      It is equally plausible to interpret the evidence to imply a life-span extending well into the fifth century, followed by a phase when the building became increasingly shabby and then untenable.


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