incompetent

adjective
in·​com·​pe·​tent | \(ˌ)in-ˈkäm-pə-tənt \

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 while the Department of Health goes through the long process of removing a 90-year-old doctor's license, the same exams have been used to declare Calvo incompetent to stand trial on the child pornography charges from last year. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "What could get the doctor’s child porn charges dropped also could cost him his license," 11 July 2018 Later, she was found incompetent and lawyer Eamon Guerin was appointed as her guardian and a probate judge voided the quitclaim deed. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Judge orders couple charged in scam not to enter elderly woman's home," 28 June 2018 His secret police managed to be incompetent and hated. Reuel Marc Gerecht And, WSJ, "Don’t Fear Regime Change in Iran," 11 June 2018 Barton has already been evaluated by one doctor who found her incompetent to stand trial and reccomended she be sent to Florida State Hospital. Gal Tziperman Lotan, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Woman accused of beating toddler to death not competent for trial, attorney says," 21 May 2018 In each case, charges were dismissed because he was found incompetent. Jessica Schmidt, Cincinnati.com, "Men who saved pregnant woman from attacker: 'It was just the right thing to do'," 28 June 2018 Veterans who have been deemed mentally incompetent to manage their finances also lose their right, under federal law, to buy or own guns. Washington Post, "Worried About Grandpa’s Guns? Here’s What You Can Do.," 25 June 2018 After being removed as his primary caretaker and kicked out of his Beverly Park mansion, Redstone’s former companion Manuela Herzer files a lawsuit seeking to have the mogul found mentally incompetent. Kate Stanhope, latimes.com, "Timeline: The Redstones' many battles for Viacom ... and now CBS," 22 May 2018 Why was the shooter found mentally incompetent to proceed? Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A triple homicide, a son left behind: How a Milwaukee police detective built a trusting bond with a survivor of violence," 6 July 2018

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

4 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for incompetent

The first known use of incompetent was in 1595

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More Definitions for incompetent

incompetent

adjective

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 \

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 \

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 \

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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