competence

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noun com·pe·tence \ ˈkäm-pə-tən(t)s \

Definition of competence

1 :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
2 :the quality or state of being competent: such 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
3 :the knowledge that enables a person to speak and understand a language
  • has demonstrated competence in conversational Arabic
compare performance 6

Examples of competence in a Sentence

  1. He trusts in the competence of his doctor.

  2. questioned his competence to finish the task without help

Recent Examples of competence from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of competence

Other Embryology Terms


COMPETENCE Defined for English Language Learners

competence

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noun

Definition of competence for English Language Learners

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


COMPETENCE Defined for Kids

competence

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noun com·pe·tence \ ˈkäm-pə-təns \

Definition of competence for Students

:the quality or state of being capable

Medical Dictionary

competence

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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

Law Dictionary

competence

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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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