: having requisite or adequate ability or qualities :fit<a competent teacher><a competent piece of work>
: legally qualified or adequate <a competent witness>
: having the capacity to function or develop in a particular way; specifically: having the capacity to respond (as by producing an antibody) to an antigenic determinant<immunologically competent cells>
See competent defined for English-language learners
The defendant was declared competent to stand trial.
<any competent mechanic should be able to fix that>
… he was tolerated, if not endorsed as the competent painter he was. —Markus Zusak, The Book Thief, 2005
The crafting of fine violins has proceeded for centuries as a secret art, handed down through apprenticeships from generation to generation. It takes 8 years, at least, to train a competent craftsman, decades to hone a master. —Richard Lipkin, Science News, 3 Sept. 1994
“Resort cities're transient places,” the detective argued. “… That doesn't mean the police aren't competent.” —Joseph Wambaugh, The Secrets of Harry Bright,1985
… I discovered that Lieutenant Lincoln—a much-admired man hereabouts, and, I imagine, an exceedingly competent physician—was from Worcester … —Alexander Woollcott, letter, 2 Oct. 1917
sufficient, enough, adequate, competent mean being what is necessary or desirable. sufficient suggests a close meeting of a need <sufficient savings>. enough is less exact in suggestion than sufficient<do you have enough food?>. adequate may imply barely meeting a requirement <the service was adequate>. competent suggests measuring up to all requirements without question or being adequately adapted to an end <had no competent notion of what was going on>.
: having the capacity to function or develop in a particular way; specifically: having the capacity to respond (as by producing an antibody) to an antigenic determinant <immunologically competent cells>