com·​pe·​ten·​cy | \ ˈkäm-pə-tən(t)-sē How to pronounce competency (audio) \
plural competencies

Definition of competency

1 : competence: such as
a : possession of sufficient knowledge or skill Dr. Polidoro was cited for his outstanding contributions to the profession, his professional … competency … and dedication.Rhode Island At length horrible doubts overtake him as to the captain's competency to navigate his ship.— Herman Melville
b : legal authority, ability, or admissibility They evaluated the defendant's competency to stand trial.
2 : a specific area of competence A "meister," or master, who works with the student at the jobsite will then be able to check off when an apprentice has achieved certain competencies.— Lynn Olson I have always believed businesses that concentrate on a very few core competencies will do the best.— Bill Gates When coming up with a list of different industries, positions, and professions to which your skills could transfer, the key is to think in terms of your core competencies.— John A. Challenger

Examples of competency in a Sentence

Critics have questioned the director's competency. she's proved that she has the competency to run a major company
Recent Examples on the Web During his stay, state hospital officials will reevaluate him for competency to stand trial. oregonlive, 3 Aug. 2022 This approach is possible with greater competency in emotional reasoning and self-management, which are about managing one’s mood and combining what feelings are saying with facts and information when deciding how to respond. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 23 May 2022 Tesfamariam's arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday but doubts were raised about his competency to stand trial, so a new hearing was set for Aug. 12. Paul Best, Fox News, 13 July 2022 Instead, a hearing regarding his competency is set for Aug. 29 at the downtown San Diego courthouse. San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 June 2022 In that incident, the assault was allegedly carried out by a lone gunman whose prosecution has been on hold because of his mental competency. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, 23 May 2022 During a recent Politburo meeting, Mr. Kim told officials the party should prove its competency by successfully dealing with the outbreak and urged people to strengthen their trust in the leadership, according to state media. Alastair Gale, WSJ, 19 May 2022 Laura Rose, a mental health specialist with the trial division at the Public Defender Service, said Lee needs treatment to maintain his competency. Washington Post, 11 Mar. 2022 But Ron Lafferty’s conviction was overturned, after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the wrong standards had been used to evaluate his mental competency. Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of competency

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for competency

see competent

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Time Traveler for competency

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The first known use of competency was in 1600

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Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Competency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for competency


com·​pe·​ten·​cy | \ -ən-sē How to pronounce competency (audio) \
plural competencies

Medical Definition of competency


com·​pe·​ten·​cy | \ ˈkäm-pə-tən-sē How to pronounce competency (audio) \

Legal Definition of competency

1 : the quality or state of being mentally competent — compare capacity, incompetence, insanity
2 : the quality or state of being legally qualified or adequate the competency, quantum and legal effect of evidenceState v. Scoggin, 72 S.E.2d 54 (1952)

More from Merriam-Webster on competency

Nglish: Translation of competency for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of competency for Arabic Speakers


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