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 Roof's mental state was explored in detail in documents from Roof's competency hearings and videos of three prison visits by his family that were released in May 2017. Eric Levenson, CNN, "Dylann Roof believed he'd be freed from prison after a race war, attorneys say in appeal," 29 Jan. 2020 Those charges were dismissed after several competency hearings, according to WILX. Brooke Sopelsa, NBC News, "Police release gruesome details in Michigan Grindr slaying," 6 Jan. 2020 There was no answer Friday, as Dear’s defense team objected to scheduling a mental competency hearing. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Judge delays ruling on competency hearing for admitted Planned Parenthood shooter," 13 Dec. 2019 Jones’ attorney, Cornelius Cox, first filed a motion to return property in May as part of a competency hearing, stating that the former district attorney seized her personal Bible, letters, an address book and personal papers. Elizabeth Zavala,, "Judge again rules convicted killer Genene Jones can’t get Bible, documents back," 1 Nov. 2019 Burnett had another mental competency hearing last week, on May 18, court records show. Heather Nolan,, "Man pleads guilty to fatally shooting girlfriend in Algiers in 2012," 22 May 2018 According to Laurel, Kate’s proven leadership both at school and within the community, as well as her outstanding language competency, secured her a spot in this prestigious group of only 120 students from across the Western Hemisphere. cleveland, "New York Times authors who wrote best-selling Weinstein book coming to Beachwood: Press Run," 28 Feb. 2020 Mark Latunski, 50, of Bennington Township is due back in court Thursday, where a judge will make a formal ruling on his competency, court records show. Darcie Moran, Detroit Free Press, "State calls Grindr cannibalism suspect incompetent to stand trial, report says," 24 Feb. 2020 Classier Confines However prolific Jaguar may try to become, no one will accept a Jaguar that doesn't exhibit one of its most longstanding core competencies: luxury. Steve Siler, Car and Driver, "The Updated Jaguar XE Deserves a Better Engine," 29 Jan. 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

27 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Competency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 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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