competence

noun
com·​pe·​tence | \ ˈkäm-pə-tən(t)s \

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 competence of the Bip's heart rate monitor isn't strong enough to earn users' full trust, and the onboard GPS is slower than most. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Amazfit Bip review: One peculiar week with a $99 smartwatch," 21 Mar. 2018 The writers’ attempts to make the parents sympathetic costs the characters a lot of their competence. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "Season 2 of Runaways forges a bold new path — eventually," 21 Dec. 2018 All of this is raising questions about government competence. Allysia Finley, WSJ, "California Democrats Test the Limits of Anti-Trumpism," 19 Oct. 2018 There’s no vision of democracy worth defending that doesn’t assume a minimum level of competence from a majority of voters. Sean Illing, Vox, "Intellectuals have said democracy is failing for a century. They were wrong.," 20 Dec. 2018 The Brexit faction could then rise or fall on its governing competence rather than on the volume of its carping. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Road to a Bad Brexit," 10 Dec. 2018 There is likely truth to both the Russian and Israeli accounts of what happened—with the space in between filled in by the competence of Syria's Air Defense Force and the state of repair of Syria's S-200 missiles. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Russian surveillance plane got shot down by Syria—and Russia blames Israel," 18 Sep. 2018 Loyalty matters far more than competence or character. Michael Gerson, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump unbound amid a cloud of chaos," 18 Mar. 2018 That methodology allows the employee to maintain their feeling of competence and grow confidence. The Seattle Times, "Leadership coaching for organizational success," 14 Nov. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near competence

compere

compesce

compete

competence

competency

competent

competible

Statistics for competence

Last Updated

13 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for competence

The first known use of competence was circa 1640

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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 \

Kids Definition of competence

: the quality or state of being capable

competence

noun
com·​pe·​tence | \ ˈkäm-pət-ən(t)s \

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 \

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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Comments on competence

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