incompetent

adjective

in·​com·​pe·​tent (ˌ)in-ˈkäm-pə-tənt How to pronounce incompetent (audio)
1
a
: lacking the qualities needed for effective action
b
: unable to function properly
incompetent heart valves
2
: not legally qualified
3
: inadequate to or unsuitable for a particular purpose
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.
Recent Examples on the Web He has been deemed incompetent to stand trial and ordered to a mental health facility, but authorities say there is not space anywhere to send him. Cody Copeland, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 21 May 2024 He was conditionally released from jail on the charges and found to be mentally incompetent to stand trial in June 2021. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, 17 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for incompetent 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'incompetent.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle French incompétent, from in- + compétent competent

First Known Use

1595, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of incompetent was in 1595

Dictionary Entries Near incompetent

Cite this Entry

“Incompetent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incompetent. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

incompetent

1 of 2 adjective
in·​com·​pe·​tent
(ˈ)in-ˈkäm-pət-ənt
1
: not legally qualified
2
: lacking qualities (as knowledge, skill, or ability) needed to do something well
an incompetent writer
incompetently adverb

incompetent

2 of 2 noun
: an incompetent person

Medical Definition

incompetent

adjective
in·​com·​pe·​tent (ˈ)in-ˈkäm-pət-ənt How to pronounce incompetent (audio)
1
: not legally qualified
especially : incapable due to a mental or physical condition
2
: unable to function properly
incompetent heart valves
incompetently adverb

Legal Definition

incompetent

1 of 2 adjective
in·​com·​pe·​tent in-ˈkäm-pə-tənt How to pronounce incompetent (audio)
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

2 of 2 noun
: a person who is incompetent compare interdict

More from Merriam-Webster on incompetent

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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