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

Firearm ownership is prohibited for a person who is involuntarily committed to a mental-health facility or who has been adjudicated incompetent to manage his or her affairs, Prince said. Erin Mccarthy, Philly.com, "Before walking Abington streets with AR-15, man searched the internet, asking 'What weapons were used in Columbine'," 4 May 2018 There’s climate change, global strife, incompetent leaders. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "The Top Shows of Milan Fashion Week Fall 2019," 25 Feb. 2019 Autocrats are often incompetent There are undoubtedly real examples of autocratic rulers who are also savvy, highly skilled technocrats who excel at devising and implementing public policy. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Trump’s incompetence and authoritarianism are both scary," 15 Nov. 2018 That expert, in an attempt to have Dunn ruled incompetent to stand trial, said Elliott was developmentally delayed and easily swayed by leading questions from police and authority figures. Keith Bierygolick, Cincinnati.com, "Why did Ohio man hold woman captive in Blanchester shed? An imaginary prostitution ring.," 14 June 2018 That one company or another has harvested your data or left it unsecured because that company is specifically and particularly greedy, incompetent, or careless. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Tech Companies Shouldn't Make Us Trust Them, At All," 11 Jan. 2019 Investigators say the gang was dangerously incompetent and tried to cross the busy shipping channel at night without lights, radar or maritime experience. Fox News, "The Latest: UK jury convicts jet ski migrant smugglers," 7 Aug. 2018 Borum last year unsuccessfully sought to have Archer ruled incompetent for trial. Chris Palmer, Philly.com, "Gunman who pledged ISIS allegiance convicted in 2016 shooting of Philly cop," 1 Feb. 2018 Europeans know exactly how incompetent their national ruling classes are. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "EU Politicians Are the Worst, Except All the Others," 20 Dec. 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

5 Apr 2019

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 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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