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 Another $250 million will be used to place more culturally competent mental health services in schools in order to properly treat youth of color. Ayanna Runcie, CBS News, "Proposed legislation attempts to address rising suicide rates among black children," 17 Dec. 2019 Men don’t face the same catch-22s as women (be competent but not bossy! Andrea Bartz, Marie Claire, "The Real Winner of Last Night's Debate: The All-Female Moderating Team," 21 Nov. 2019 Creating globally and culturally competent citizens! Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "WATCH: Well Done! Texas WWII Vet Who Asked for 100 Birthday Cards for His 100th Birthday Receives 100,000," 9 Oct. 2019 The people there are so compassionate, so culturally competent. Glenn Nelson, The Seattle Times, "Battle for ‘soul’ of Seattle’s Japanese American community as Keiro Northwest nursing home closes," 16 Sep. 2019 Sweat is the younger, highly competent guy who can handle the nuts and bolts of a complex plan. Michael Ordoña, latimes.com, "The killers of ‘Dannemora’ ‘needed each other,’ say Paul Dano and Benicio Del Toro," 17 June 2019 With Islamic State fighters an hour’s drive from Baghdad, the United States belatedly rushed to push Maliki aside and install a more competent leader, the Shiite politician and former government minister Haider al-Abadi. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "No Joe!," 10 June 2019 The Sentra's driving experience is competent if not outstanding. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The 2020 Nissan Sentra has sharp sedan looks for a sub-$20,000 sticker," 16 Dec. 2019 Its mission is to protect and promote the welfare of the public by ensuring that each person holding a nursing license or certificate is competent to practice safely. Stephanie Innes, azcentral, "Ducey appointee to nursing board posted anti-immigrant comments on social media," 11 Dec. 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

4 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Competent.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/competently. Accessed 17 January 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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