incompetent

adjective
in·​com·​pe·​tent | \ (ˌ)in-ˈkäm-pə-tənt How to pronounce incompetent (audio) \

Definition of incompetent

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

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Other Words from incompetent

incompetent noun
incompetently adverb

Examples of incompetent in a Sentence

He is too incompetent to be trusted with such an important responsibility. The patient is mentally incompetent. The defendant was declared incompetent to stand trial.
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Recent Examples on the Web But a judicial order deeming him mentally incompetent would put a trial on hold indefinitely. Washington Post, "Teen mentally incompetent to stand trial in 2018 mass shooting, all sides say," 5 Nov. 2019 At issue is whether Melton was mentally incompetent during his preliminary hearing in March 1982. Daily Pilot, "Appellate justices overturn murder verdict for man accused in 1981 Newport Beach slaying," 7 Oct. 2019 In November, a judge will decide if defendant Eduardo Arriola is mentally competent to face trial, or will need to be sent to Patton State Hospital, a state mental hospital that also cares for inmates who have been deemed incompetent. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mental competency in question for man accused of gunning down Oceanside neighbor," 13 Sep. 2019 In September 2011, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns his death sentence, stating that Banks is mentally incompetent. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Deadliest mass shootings in modern US history," 4 Aug. 2019 There, locals have blamed everyone from incompetent city leaders to mafia leaders’ infiltration of the country’s waste management. Catherine Rentz, baltimoresun.com, "Garbage grab bag: Sorting through questions to get to the truth about Baltimore’s trash problem," 15 Aug. 2019 Unlike any of the Epstein conspiracy theories, my master theory — that the federal government is incompetent — is exceedingly easy to believe. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein’s Death Don’t Make Much Sense," 12 Aug. 2019 Milonis’s trial was delayed after he was found mentally incompetent and sent to a state mental hospital. Neal Putnam, Ramona Sentinel, "Murder trial starts in Mother’s Day crash," 10 July 2019 The financial crisis persuaded voters that they were governed by aloof, incompetent, self-serving elites. The Economist, "The corrupting of democracy," 29 Aug. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of incompetent

1595, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for incompetent

Middle French incompétent, from in- + compétent competent

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Statistics for incompetent

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for incompetent

The first known use of incompetent was in 1595

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More Definitions for incompetent

incompetent

adjective
How to pronounce incompetent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of incompetent

: lacking necessary ability or skills
law : not able to take part in a trial

incompetent

adjective
in·​com·​pe·​tent | \ in-ˈkäm-pə-tənt How to pronounce incompetent (audio) \

Kids Definition of incompetent

: not able to do a good job

Other Words from incompetent

incompetently adverb

incompetent

adjective
in·​com·​pe·​tent | \ (ˈ)in-ˈkäm-pət-ənt How to pronounce incompetent (audio) \

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

Other Words from incompetent

incompetently adverb

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incompetent

adjective
in·​com·​pe·​tent | \ in-ˈkäm-pə-tənt How to pronounce incompetent (audio) \

Legal Definition of incompetent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

incompetent

noun

Legal Definition of incompetent (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who is incompetent — compare interdict

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Comments on incompetent

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