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 Earlier this year, his attorney agreed his client was competent. Emilie Eaton, ExpressNews.com, "Most inmates at Bexar County jail who test positive show no symptoms of coronavirus as outbreak claims another life," 6 May 2020 Luckily, Dowdle is competent in pass protection, which gives him some immediate value on passing downs. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 3 UDFAs who have the best shot to make the Cowboys’ roster, including Dallas’ most intriguing signing," 29 Apr. 2020 Ronald Sullivan, presumably an excellent lawyer, prefers claiming victimhood to using the occasion as a teaching moment and defending the constitutional right of anyone accused to competent legal counsel. WSJ, "Harvard Should Be Crimson With Chagrin," 24 Mar. 2019 In April, a judge found Dunn competent to stand trial, ruling defense counsel and their expert witness had confused competency with an insanity defense, something that could still be raised at trial. Keith Bierygolick, Cincinnati.com, "Why did Ohio man hold woman captive in Blanchester shed? An imaginary prostitution ring.," 14 June 2018 Aaron Rodgers is his star pupil, but Matt Flynn is the best example of McCarthy developing a late-rounder into a competent NFL quarterback. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: Best fits available for the Cowboys in the 2020 NFL draft," 25 Apr. 2020 In one respect that’s the correct decision—despite America’s fondness for the A-10, it would probably get shot down in droves by a competent enemy fielding modern air defense guns and missiles. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The A-10 Warthog Will Fly Into the 2040s," 21 Apr. 2020 Anderson, who is a transwoman herself, said during a conference call announcing the letter that culturally competent healthcare is essential for transgender and non-binary people. al, "’Anti-trans bills’ bad for business, 40 companies say," 11 Mar. 2020 His father, 17 years her senior, was an accountant, highly competent but idle, who worked briefly as Rita Hayworth’s business manager. The Economist, "James Ellroy finally has happiness in his sights," 8 June 2019

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

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Competent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/competent. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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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Comments on competent

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