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 salary data is made up of a combination of proprietary Randstad Healthcare information and data that was provided by the Economic Research Institute, a resource of robust job competency, cost-of-living, executive compensation and salary surveys. Heather Leighton, Houston Chronicle, "Data shows what engineers in Texas, surrounding states are earning annually," 1 Mar. 2018 As Megan Garber summarized in the Atlantic, scientific research has shown that humans perceive a deeper voice to indicate trustworthiness, attractiveness, competency, and strength in both men and women. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Is Elizabeth Holmes's Deep Voice Just Another Part of Her Scam?," 18 Mar. 2019 Madison’s lawyers in court filings described him as a physically and mentally frail man who attended a competency hearing in a wheelchair. Kim Chandler, The Seattle Times, "Court to explore competency claim of ailing Alabama inmate," 1 Oct. 2018 Designing for the latter requires a specific set of competencies. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Scandinavian Man Stages a Non-Fashion Fashion Show in Stockholm," 6 Feb. 2019 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

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

23 May 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

What made you want to look up competency? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that collects or salvages junk

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