com·​pe·​ten·​cy ˈkäm-pə-tən(t)-sē How to pronounce competency (audio)
plural competencies
: competence: such as
: 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
: legal authority, ability, or admissibility
They evaluated the defendant's competency to stand trial.
: 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 Cohen said the focuses in Arkansas should include lowering maternal mortality rates, increasing rural health care access and continuing to work on cultural competency in medicine. Lydia Fletcher,, 9 Apr. 2024 To achieve a safer future, more leaders should strive to make cybersecurity a core competency. Tyler Shepherd, USA TODAY, 8 Apr. 2024 Weeks after his arrest in August, a federal magistrate judge ordered a competency hearing for Sidhwaney. Antonio Planas, NBC News, 2 Apr. 2024 Additionally, healthcare and other providers must undergo cultural competency training to ensure that care is sensitive to the unique needs and challenges faced by Black and Latino individuals. Alphonso David and Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Essence, 20 Mar. 2024 Liberated from the shackles of insecurity and aware of their competencies and strengths, people can be empowered to contribute to broader social systems. Graham Ward, Fortune, 7 Mar. 2024 This emerging discipline requires CMOs to adopt new competencies to guide brands through exponential technological change while retaining enduring human values. Gillian Oakenfull, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 The evidence shows that cultural competency and building trust within these communities is essential for effective prevention and treatment. Alphonso David and Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Essence, 20 Mar. 2024 Both the prosecution and defense are awaiting the results of a competency evaluation for the teen. The Enquirer, 13 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'competency.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see competent

First Known Use

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of competency was in 1600

Dictionary Entries Near competency

Cite this Entry

“Competency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


com·​pe·​ten·​cy ˈkäm-pət-ən-sē How to pronounce competency (audio)

Medical Definition


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

Legal Definition


com·​pe·​ten·​cy ˈkäm-pə-tən-sē How to pronounce competency (audio)
: the quality or state of being mentally competent compare capacity, incompetence, insanity
: 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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