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

able, capable, equal, fit, good, qualified, suitable

Antonyms

incompetent, inept, poor, unfit, unfitted, unqualified

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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

Performance was safe and competent, including lane changes. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Controversial ex-Uber engineer claims to have completed a coast-to-coast self-driving trip," 18 Dec. 2018 This grotesque and coordinated character assassination will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from serving our country. Fox News, "Brit Hume on fallout from Kavanaugh hearing; Alan Dershowitz on Rachel Mitchell's performance," 28 Sep. 2018 While Cooper is a competent player, a famous musician—Willy Nelson's son Lukas Nelson—is responsible for the music in the movie. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Does Bradley Cooper Really Sing and Play Guitar in A Star Is Born?," 9 Feb. 2019 There's obviously no more knowledgeable or competent judge of what really happened at this most vital juncture of the 20th century than Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Read Brian Mulroney's Moving Eulogy at George H.W. Bush's Funeral," 5 Dec. 2018 According to the Harvard Business Review, studies have shown that men who cry at work are seen as more emotional and less competent than women who cry at work. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Jokes About Justin Bieber Crying Show Harmful Attitudes About Masculinity," 9 Nov. 2018 Fewer work out, and this is a monumental task in front of Long, to save football by completing a massive fundraising project for a wretched program, and hire a competent coach to what might be the most difficult job in major college football. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Whit not an All-Star (?), Jeff Long and KU, Chiefs fears, Odom's crossroads," 10 July 2018 The Google Play store offers perfectly competent apps, like Pocket Cast, Stitcher, and Player FM’s simply named Podcast. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "Google's New Podcast App Could Turbocharge the Industry," 19 June 2018 This grotesque and coordinated character assassination will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions, from serving our country. Alvin Chang, Vox, "Every time Ford and Kavanaugh answered the question — and didn't answer the question," 28 Sep. 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

24 May 2019

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 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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highly pertinent or appropriate

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