competent

adjective
com·​pe·​tent | \ˈkäm-pə-tənt \

Definition of competent 

1 : proper or rightly pertinent

2 : having requisite or adequate ability or qualities : fit a competent teacher a competent piece of work

3 : legally qualified or adequate a competent witness

4 : having the capacity to function or develop in a particular way specifically : having the capacity to respond (as by producing an antibody) to an antigenic determinant immunologically competent cells

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Other Words from competent

competently adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for competent

sufficient, enough, adequate, competent mean being what is necessary or desirable. sufficient suggests a close meeting of a need. sufficient savings enough is less exact in suggestion than sufficient. do you have enough food? adequate may imply barely meeting a requirement. the service was adequate competent suggests measuring up to all requirements without question or being adequately adapted to an end. had no competent notion of what was going on

Examples of competent in a Sentence

… he was tolerated, if not endorsed as the competent painter he was. — Markus Zusak, The Book Thief, 2005 The crafting of fine violins has proceeded for centuries as a secret art, handed down through apprenticeships from generation to generation. It takes 8 years, at least, to train a competent craftsman, decades to hone a master. — Richard Lipkin, Science News, 3 Sept. 1994 "Resort cities're transient places," the detective argued. " … That doesn't mean the police aren't competent." — Joseph Wambaugh, The Secrets of Harry Bright, 1985 … I discovered that Lieutenant Lincoln—a much-admired man hereabouts, and, I imagine, an exceedingly competent physician—was from Worcester … — Alexander Woollcott, letter, 2 Oct. 1917 The defendant was declared competent to stand trial. any competent mechanic should be able to fix that
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Recent Examples on the Web

So the more competition there is, the more competent and productive and efficient our producers would be. Fox News, "Fair trade vs. free trade: which is better for the US?," 25 June 2018 The Business Roundtable groups and chambers of commerce which also are competent and which should have a passionate professional interest in maintaining drug-free workplaces and safeguarding our youth? WSJ, "Legalizing Marijuana: The Pros and Cons," 20 June 2018 While such a mark is hardly a picture of efficiency, the Embiid-centric half-court attack the Sixers utilized in Game 3 was actually their most competent and sustainable plan of the series. David Murphy, Philly.com, "The real story of Sixers-Celtics? It's simpler than some think | David Murphy," 6 May 2018 Verwer had a mental evaluation after his initial court appearance, and he was found to be competent to participate in the preliminary hearing, Magistrate Judge Robert L. Jackson said. Katy Moeller, idahostatesman, "Trial date set for Fruitland driver charged with mowing down newlyweds," 20 Apr. 2018 In other words: Matthews had reached the stage of being unconsciously competent. Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan's Charles Matthews declares for NBA draft without hiring agent," 20 Apr. 2018 But unlike the mafia, none of his relatives are competent. Melissa Locker, Time, "James Comey Compared President Trump to a Mafia Boss. Stephen Colbert Took It From There.," 17 Apr. 2018 After the British Air Force (RAF) had gone on its first bombing run against Berlin in 1940, dropping nearly 200 bombs in the process, Hitler began to reconsider how the Nazis would defend themselves against a competent air force. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Fearsome Nazi Tower That Held Off the Allies in Berlin," 11 June 2018 Their successors, Jeremy Hunt and Dominic Raab, are highly competent. The Economist, "What doesn’t kill her makes Theresa May stronger," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'competent.' 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 competent

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for competent

Middle English, suitable, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin competent-, competens, from present participle of competere — see compete

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Statistics for competent

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for competent

The first known use of competent was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for competent

competent

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of competent

: having the necessary ability or skills : able to do something well or well enough to meet a standard

law : able to take part in a trial

competent

adjective
com·​pe·​tent | \ˈkäm-pə-tənt \

Kids Definition of competent

: capable sense 2, efficient a competent teacher

Other Words from competent

competently adverb

competent

adjective
com·​pe·​tent | \ˈkäm-pət-ənt \

Medical Definition of competent 

: having the capacity to function or develop in a particular way specifically : having the capacity to respond (as by producing an antibody) to an antigenic determinant immunologically competent cells

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competent

adjective
com·​pe·​tent | \ˈkäm-pə-tənt \

Legal Definition of competent 

1 : having or showing requisite or adequate ability or qualities a competent lawyer competent representation by counsel

2a : free from addiction or mental defect that renders one incapable of taking care of oneself or one's property

b : capable of understanding one's position as a criminal defendant and the nature of the criminal proceedings and able to participate in one's defense — compare capacity, incompetent, insanity

3 : legally qualified or adequate: as

a : having the necessary power or authority a judge of competent jurisdictionU.S. Code

b : qualified for presentation in court : admissible as evidence or capable of giving admissible evidence a competent witness

c : intelligent a competent waiver

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Comments on competent

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