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

Definition of competency

: competence raised the issue of the defendant's competency to stand trial

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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

The extent of our education in cultural competency was extremely limited. Tamara Melton, SELF, "Our Idea of Healthy Eating Excludes Other Cultures, and That's a Problem," 31 July 2018 Renita Pritchett was beside herself Thursday (May 3) with worry and frustration about the competency ruling. Michelle Hunter,, "JPSO deputy, retirement home resident put on 'Boogie Shoes'," 4 May 2018 Despite all of the chaos, controversy and questions about competency over the last 15 months of the Trump Era, this is a remarkable development and beginning to the upcoming U.S.-North Korea talks. Chuck Todd, NBC News, "Peace in Korea could be Trump's key legacy. But the eventual outcome is still unclear.," 27 Apr. 2018 And thirdly, in terms of the competencies of American military power the ability to deliver really very overwhelming force on to North Korea if necessary. Fox News, "Sarah Smith aims to be the next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez," 1 Aug. 2018 Over the course of nine months, patients at a Pennsylvania hospital rated the competency of doctors with and without body piercings and tattoos. Mary Bernard,, "Will that tattoo hurt you professionally? Not if you're a doctor, study finds," 9 July 2018 Forget the perfection of Dr. Huxtable; these guys can barely muster the basic competency of Barney Rubble. Aaron Traister, Redbook, "The Whys Guy Takes on TV Dads," 20 Sep. 2012 In April, a judge found Dunn competent to stand trial, ruling defense counsel and their expert witness had confused competency with an insanity defense, something that could still be raised at trial. Keith Bierygolick,, "Why did Ohio man hold woman captive in Blanchester shed? An imaginary prostitution ring.," 14 June 2018 These skills are universally useful and of much greater practical use than competency in calculus. John F. Quilter Eugene, Ore. WSJ, "Calculus Helps More Than Future Engineers," 20 May 2018

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

1596, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for competency

see competent

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Statistics for competency

Last Updated

14 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for competency

The first known use of competency was in 1596

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More Definitions for competency



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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Comments on competency

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a shady place in a garden or forest

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