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 Had Downhill looked halfway competent its shortcomings might not chafe quite so much, but almost every shot feels just a little off, every composition oddly clumsy. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Downhill': Film Review | Sundance 2020," 27 Jan. 2020 Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer — the Democrats are now down to a bunch of white folks standing around talking — were perfectly competent and buttoned down and businesslike. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Democratic debate dug deep on policy. Despite nudges, candidates dodged personal attacks," 14 Jan. 2020 Prosecutors have proceeded in court as if Mr. Comello is mentally competent and can be held responsible for his actions. Ali Watkins, New York Times, "Accused of Killing a Gambino Mob Boss, He’s Presenting a Novel Defense," 6 Dec. 2019 Again, lawyers were asked to rate how competent and hireable a candidate was. Devyani Sharma, Quartz at Work, "British employers still judge candidates based on their accents," 26 Nov. 2019 The Dolphins got off to their now-typical first half starts, playing competent and competitive football, making all of us wonder if this would be their first win of the season. Kenny Rosarion, sun-sentinel.com, "Instant Analysis: Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Miami Dolphins 14," 28 Oct. 2019 The team needs to give fans a show of tough, competent and efficient football. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: UConn football must open the 2019 season with more than a victory against Wagner," 29 Aug. 2019 No different here: our servers were confident and competent and just good at their jobs. Polly Campbell, Cincinnati.com, "There is something nostalgic about The Lonely Pine in Pleasant Ridge," 18 June 2019 That would allow time for Beijing to decide upon a successor that the leadership considers both competent and politically reliable. Christopher Bodeen, Fox News, "Hong Kong's first female leader fights for political life," 16 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

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Competent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/competent?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=c&file=compet04. Accessed 20 Feb. 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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