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

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 This is incompetent in the sense that there’s no reason to believe Whitaker is actually up to doing this job. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Trump’s incompetence and authoritarianism are both scary," 15 Nov. 2018 The report was released as Facebook fends off numerous accusations of incompetent or underhanded behavior. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Facebook removed a lot of spam, violence, and fake accounts this year," 15 Nov. 2018 Voters there know their domestic political classes are incompetent, corrupt or worse, and that the EU acts as a check. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Finding the Right Right for Europe," 5 July 2018 Because our government has been so incompetent at protecting its highly sophisticated cyberweapons, those weapons have been stolen out of the electronic vaults of the National Security Agency and the C.I.A. and shot right back at us. David E. Sanger, New York Times, "Why Hackers Aren’t Afraid of Us," 16 June 2018 Has there ever been a more incompetent boob in law enforcement? Fox News, "Hunt for serial bomber intensifies in Texas," 21 Mar. 2018 Kevin is an incompetent boob, who may or may not have killed his late wife. Matt Miller, Esquire, "Kevin Can Wait Found the Perfect Replacement for Donna," 23 Jan. 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

11 Jan 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 \

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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Comments on incompetent

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