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 The competency report accepted by the court is not a public record, according to Bloom. Cameron Knight, The Enquirer, 14 May 2024 Twice a year, hospitals are graded in five categories: infections; problems with surgery; safety problems; practices to prevent errors; and the competency of hospital staff. Eleanor Nash, Kansas City Star, 8 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for competency 

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 28 May. 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)

More from Merriam-Webster on competency

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