com·​pe·​ten·​cy | \ˈkäm-pə-tən(t)-sē \
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 Supreme Court in January stayed Madison’s scheduled lethal injection to consider whether to review Madison’s competency claim. Kim Chandler, The Seattle Times, "Court to explore competency claim of ailing Alabama inmate," 1 Oct. 2018 Defense attorneys argued that Majors showed signs of dementia and had problems with his long-term memory, but a mental competency examination showed Majors was able to stand trial. Adam Kealoha Causey, Fox News, "Oklahoma man convicted in hate-crime killing dies in prison," 13 Sep. 2018 He was charged with two counts of murder and rape in 2014 and transferred to the Redwood City jail to face a trial delayed several times by questions about his mental competency and his insistence on representing himself. Paul Elias, Fox News, "California jury: Career criminal guilty of killing 2 teens," 18 Sep. 2018 Miyake said Phan should be sent to a hospital for four months to have his competency restored. Washington Post, "Judge finds man accused of mailing explosives incompetent," 12 July 2018 For months, his supporters and lawyers have sought to discredit Brinkley in a public campaign challenging her credibility and competency. Mark Fazlollah,, "Philly Judge Genece Brinkley's lawyer on tape: She made big mistakes in Meek Mill case," 3 July 2018 His court case resumed when it was determined that his mental competency was restored. Lyndsay Winkley,, "Did the 'system' fail mentally ill man who shot 2 San Diego police officers? Some think so," 1 July 2018 Should Edwards regain competency, the state will be able to file charges against him. David Owens,, "Hartford Man Who Police Say Set Apartment On Fire To Break Lease Declared Incompetent," 25 Apr. 2018 This means in the future a lower portion of a lower budget will be dedicated to core competencies of war. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Houston, We Have a Space Force," 4 July 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

5 Dec 2018

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

: an ability or skill


com·​pe·​ten·​cy | \-ən-sē \
plural competencies

Medical Definition of competency 


com·​pe·​ten·​cy | \ˈkäm-pə-tən-sē \

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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living or existing for a long time

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