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 Trump’s competency at handling the global pandemic has been called into question throughout the national emergency, as the president has repeatedly lied in the face of the global public health crisis. Erin Corbett,, "Trump Rebukes Nurse Honoree For Claiming To Lack Enough Masks & PPE," 7 May 2020 Critical competencies of real war — including armor, artillery and the command and control of large formations — had atrophied badly. Gil Barndollar, Twin Cities, "Gil Barndollar: Endless wars are corrupting our military and distracting the U.S. from bigger global threats," 12 Dec. 2019 After Fischer missed thee hearings, Lazar ordered him to undergo a competency evaluation, court records show. Eddie Morales, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Waukesha man charged with accidentally burning his father's house down hasn't showed up in court for 14 months," 27 Jan. 2020 The judge's order on competency and hospitalization applies to the federal counts. NBC News, "Suspect in Hanukkah machete attack at rabbi's NY home not fit for trial, judge rules," 21 Apr. 2020 But those contestants also aren't evaluated on every one of those competencies. Inkoo Kang, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Demands the Impossible — and Therein Lies Its Greatness," 17 Apr. 2020 Our upskilling initiatives focus on enhancing the technical, functional, behavioural, managerial, and leadership competencies of our employees. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "At Indian packaging giant UFlex, growth is all about upskilling staff," 15 Apr. 2020 That’s a great excuse to invest some time and patience into mastering (or at least reaching basic competency in) a new hobby. Rachel Feltman, Popular Science, "Soothing stories to take your mind off stressful things," 7 Apr. 2020 That was baked into Tesla from day one, but for existing automakers, batteries have to become a new core competency. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "As Volvo goes electric, here’s how it’s making its batteries top-notch," 31 Mar. 2020

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

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Competency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 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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