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

Their successors, Jeremy Hunt and Dominic Raab, are highly competent. The Economist, "What doesn’t kill her makes Theresa May stronger," 12 July 2018 Kiaran McLaughlin is a very competent trainer and Junior Alvarado is one of the more underrated riders on the New York circuit. courant.com, "Clancy's Call: 144th Kentucky Derby," 4 May 2018 On June 5th, vote for GOP Gubernatorial Candidate JOHN COX, a really good and highly competent man. John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, "Newsom, John Cox top new California governor’s poll: Villaraigosa in trouble," 31 May 2018 High school students Sarah Leurquin, Madeleine Keane and Rachel Mauney, gave competent, focused, poised performances as the three child spirits. Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "After disruptive week, Florentine Opera sings Mozart's 'Magic Flute'," 12 May 2018 He was later found to be competent and -- following a psychiatric evaluation -- he was granted permission to represent himself. CBS News, "Ex-Marine admits to killing Army reservist in California motel," 15 Mar. 2018 The six-speed dual-clutch transmission is competent and delivers nearly seamless upshifts, but downshifts are far from immediate. Car and Driver, "2018 Kia Niro," 6 Mar. 2018 Guns under the pillows Federal law prohibits people who are not mentally competent to make their own decisions, including those with advanced dementia, from buying or owning firearms. Jonel Aleccia And Melissa Bailey, USA TODAY, "Unlocked and loaded: Families confront dementia and guns," 1 July 2018 Federal law prohibits people who are not mentally competent to make their own decisions, including those with advanced dementia, from buying or owning firearms. NBC News, "Unlocked And loaded: Families confront dementia and guns," 26 June 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

13 Sep 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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