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

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 According to 2016 research by the people and organizational advisory firm Korn Ferry, women executives are 86% more likely to employ the competency of emotional self-awareness consistently and 45% more likely to demonstrate empathy. Fortune, 28 Apr. 2022 An ability to read the room is a key leadership competency. Palena Neale, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 And the University of Connecticut recently added a dialogue competency to its Common Curriculum. Jennifer Miller, Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2022 An attorney for a Wisconsin woman accused of murdering and dismembering a 25-year-old man last month has asked the court for a competency evaluation of his client, Action 2 News reports. Elaine Aradillas,, 15 Mar. 2022 Living Out Palm Springs will also work with local LGBTQ+ organizations to recommend in-home care companies with LGBTQ+ cultural competency when and if residents are in need of these services. David Rae, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2022 The presenter will be a professor of immigration issues and cultural competency. Carol Kovach, cleveland, 1 Mar. 2022 On Friday, the group issued a list of demands to Georgetown Law that included rescinding Shapiro’s offer and committing to a thorough hiring process that considers incoming faculty and staff members’ cultural competency. NBC News, 3 Feb. 2022 Dougherty went on to point out the distinction between competency and insanity. Mallika Kallingal And Raja Razek, CNN, 3 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Competency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for competency


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)

More from Merriam-Webster on competency

Nglish: Translation of competency for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of competency for Arabic Speakers


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