incompetent

adjective in·com·pe·tent \ (ˌ)in-ˈkäm-pə-tənt \
Updated on: 6 Dec 2017

Definition of incompetent

1 : not legally qualified
2 : inadequate to or unsuitable for a particular purpose
3 a : lacking the qualities needed for effective action
b : unable to function properly
  • incompetent heart valves

incompetent

noun

incompetently

adverb

Examples of incompetent in a Sentence

  1. He is too incompetent to be trusted with such an important responsibility.

  2. The patient is mentally incompetent.

  3. The defendant was declared incompetent to stand trial.

Recent Examples of incompetent from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'incompetent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of incompetent

Middle French incompétent, from in- + compétent competent


INCOMPETENT Defined for English Language Learners

incompetent

adjective

Definition of incompetent for English Language Learners

  • : lacking necessary ability or skills

  • law : not able to take part in a trial


INCOMPETENT Defined for Kids

incompetent

adjective in·com·pe·tent \ in-ˈkäm-pə-tənt \

Definition of incompetent for Students

: not able to do a good job

incompetently

adverb

Medical Dictionary

incompetent

adjective in·com·pe·tent \ (ˈ)in-ˈkäm-pət-ənt \

medical Definition of incompetent

1 : not legally qualified; especially : incapable due to a mental or physical condition
2 : unable to function properly
  • incompetent heart valves

incompetently

adverb

Law Dictionary

1

incompetent

adjective in·com·pe·tent \ in-ˈkäm-pə-tənt \

legal Definition of incompetent

1 : not legally qualified: as
a : lacking legal capacity (as because of age or mental deficiency)
b : incapable due to mental or physical condition — compare competent
c : lacking authority, power, or qualifications required by law
  • an incompetent court
  • incompetent evidence
2 : unable or failing to perform adequately
  • fired for being incompetent
  • an incompetent attorney
— compare ineffective assistance of counsel

2

incompetent

noun

legal Definition of incompetent

: a person who is incompetent — compare interdict


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