competence

noun
com·​pe·​tence | \ ˈkäm-pə-tən(t)s How to pronounce competence (audio) \

Definition of competence

1 : the quality or state of being competent: such as
a : the quality or state of having sufficient knowledge, judgment, skill, or strength (as for a particular duty or in a particular respect) No one denies her competence as a leader. They have demonstrated their competence in their specialty or subspecialty by passing a comprehensive exam …— Rachael Migler
b law : legal authority, ability, or admissibility a matter within the competence of a judge to adjudicate
c : the knowledge that enables a person to speak and understand a language has demonstrated competence in conversational Arabic — compare performance sense 6
d biology : the ability to function or develop in a particular way: such as
(1) embryology : the ability of embryonic cells and tissue to undergo differentiation in response to an organizer (see organizer sense 2)
(2) microbiology : the capability of bacterial cells to take up exogenous DNA during genetic transformation
2 : a sufficiency of means for the necessities and conveniences of life " … money can only give happiness where there is nothing else to give it. Beyond a competence, it can afford no real satisfaction … "— Jane Austen

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Examples of competence in a Sentence

He trusts in the competence of his doctor. questioned his competence to finish the task without help
Recent Examples on the Web The pandemic was good for authoritarian governments, which used the crisis to consolidate power, arrest opposition, close the free press and articulate new myths of their own competence. Washington Post, 10 June 2021 Your later years, however, will bring outsized returns thanks to your competence and good reputation. Abdo Riani, Forbes, 8 June 2021 Both Ussery and Mann have had prior outbursts in court, have gone through a series of lawyers and spent months behind bars being evaluated or treated for their mental competence. Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express-News, 26 May 2021 As the Covid crisis heats up a global contest of ideologies, the Chinese Communist Party has claimed vindication—showcasing its authoritarian competence against the omnishambles of Western-style democracy. Dan Xin Huang, The New Republic, 24 May 2021 In addition to cultural richness and competence and an incredible will to carry on, organizations like Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos bring deep and long-standing relationship skills based in trust on both sides of the prison walls. Kris Putnam-walkerly, Forbes, 21 May 2021 Collier is an affable, approachable, avuncular, white-haired man who radiates assurance and competence, if not charisma. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, 1 May 2021 The scrutiny of Cuomo comes at a delicate moment as Democrats work to project unity and competence in contrast to four years of near-constant scandal and norm-shattering behavior under Trump. Steve Peoples, Star Tribune, 1 Mar. 2021 The scrutiny of Cuomo comes at a delicate moment as Democrats work to project unity and competence in contrast to four years of near-constant scandal and norm-shattering behavior under Trump. Steve Peoples, ajc, 1 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'competence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of competence

circa 1640, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for competence

see competent

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Learn More About competence

Time Traveler for competence

Time Traveler

The first known use of competence was circa 1640

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Statistics for competence

Last Updated

19 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Competence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/competence. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for competence

competence

noun

English Language Learners Definition of competence

: the ability to do something well : the quality or state of being competent

competence

noun
com·​pe·​tence | \ ˈkäm-pə-təns How to pronounce competence (audio) \

Kids Definition of competence

: the quality or state of being capable

competence

noun
com·​pe·​tence | \ ˈkäm-pət-ən(t)s How to pronounce competence (audio) \

Medical Definition of competence

: the quality or state of being functionally adequate assess the competence of the immune system : as
a : the properties of an embryonic field that enable it to respond in a characteristic manner to an organizer
b : readiness of bacteria to undergo genetic transformation

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competence

noun
com·​pe·​tence | \ ˈkäm-pə-təns How to pronounce competence (audio) \

Legal Definition of competence

: the quality or state of being competent: as
a : possession of sufficient knowledge or skill
b : legal authority, ability, or admissibility a court of general competence the competence of witnesses challenge the competence of the evidence

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