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

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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 Members from the organizations go through assessments to determine which weaknesses to strengthen and training to help them with elements like cultural competency. Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Mentor Greater Milwaukee kicks off 2020 with a call to action," 14 Jan. 2020 Maryland law allows for separate proceedings within a trial to determine guilt and mental competency if a defendant is using an insanity defense. Melanie Schuman And Kristina Sgueglia, CNN, "A judge has postponed the insanity trial of a man who admitted killing five journalists at the Capital Gazette," 30 Oct. 2019 That both students receive meaningful education that centers on cultural competency and racial sensitivity. Levi Edwards |, al, "Samford’s Black Student Union calls for action on viral, racially insensitive picture," 28 Oct. 2019 One year after shootings left two African Americans dead at a Jeffersontown Kroger, the suspect's competency is still under debate. Matthew Glowicki, The Courier-Journal, "Here's where the Kroger shooting suspect Gregory Bush's court cases stand," 23 Oct. 2019 On Monday, District Judge Michael Cuzzo ordered a hearing to determine Pavelich’s mental competency to stand trial, according to the Washington Post. Ashley Boucher,, "Miracle on Ice Hockey Player Mark Pavelich Charged with Attacking Neighbor with a Pipe," 22 Aug. 2019 Pollard's competency Pollard was charged after his semitrailer slammed into the back of a 2012 Ford carrying Alanna Norman Koons, 29, and her 18-month-old daughters Ruby and June on July 14, 2019. Crystal Hill, Indianapolis Star, "Truck driver to enter mental illness plea in I-465 crash that killed mom, twin girls," 13 Jan. 2020 In addition, each nursing facility in Ohio would have to have a patient advocate to address patients’ needs and issues, procedures to ensure staff respond to call lights as soon as possible, and competency tests and training for employees. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, "Cleveland-area real-estate agent pushes to add Nursing Facility Patients’ Bill of Rights to Ohio Constitution," 27 Nov. 2019 Federal prosecutors have been waiting on the competency ruling to make a determination on seeking the death penalty. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Kroger shooting suspect Gregory Bush to undergo another competency evaluation," 31 Oct. 2019

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.

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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

Time Traveler

The first known use of competency was in 1600

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Statistics for competency

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Competency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for competency


How to pronounce competency (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of competency

formal : an ability or skill


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)

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