competent

adjective
com·​pe·​tent | \ ˈkäm-pə-tənt How to pronounce competent (audio) \

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: such as
a : having the capacity to initiate an immune response following exposure to an antigen antibody production by immunologically competent B cells
b of a bacterial cell : capable of taking up exogenous DNA (as from a plasmid) during genetic transformation natural and artificially-produced competent cells

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Other Words from competent

competently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for competent

Synonyms

Antonyms

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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 Community outreach and care teams will promote culturally competent health education, distribution of facial coverings, mobile testing support, and other services in neighborhoods such as Chinatown, the Bayview and Mission. Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Dec. 10-16," 26 Dec. 2020 Rates of mental illnesses in African Americans are similar to the general population, but African Americans often receive poorer quality of care and lack access to culturally competent care. Tatyana Turner, baltimoresun.com, "During early coronavirus lockdown, Black suicides spiked, Johns Hopkins study finds — and now experts worry about winter," 16 Dec. 2020 That means access to insurance or affordability shouldn’t determine the quality of care, and preventive medicine should be coordinated among culturally competent providers of physical and behavioral health, as well as social services. Kelly Glass, National Geographic, "The pandemic highlights why women need better doctors," 24 Aug. 2020 Lott is one of relatively few African American therapists in the field and says the African American community deserves access to culturally competent grief support. David Montgomery, Washington Post, "How to Grieve During a Pandemic," 7 Dec. 2020 More confident, more competent, more joyous, and more accepting of all of life’s wonders. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Wonder Drug Cures All Problems," 3 Dec. 2020 While Biden’s team will surely make mistakes along the way, it is poised to be refreshingly competent, free of psychodrama and even perhaps a little boring. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "'That is a big change': Pundits laud Biden administration appointments for not being 'political'," 25 Nov. 2020 Dallas’ special teams have actually improved this season, but that matters little when the offense and defense have struggled to be even competent for long stretches. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 3 Cowboys players who have improved during Dallas’ lost season," 30 Nov. 2020 When someone with a mental disability is arrested and winds up in federal court, their attorney has to reveal whether the person is competent to stand trial. Laurel Morales, The Arizona Republic, "Inmates in federal custody seeing delays in restoration process due to COVID-19," 28 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for competent

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for competent

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Competent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/competent. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for competent

competent

adjective
How to pronounce competent (audio)

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 How to pronounce competent (audio) \

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 How to pronounce competent (audio) \

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 How to pronounce competent (audio) \

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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