incompetent

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

Definition of incompetent

1a : 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

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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 Trump has been accused of undercutting the credibility of his own government health officials on the coronavirus task force, often contradicting public health advice and portraying the experts as incompetent. Cassidy Morrison, Washington Examiner, "Trump reelection bid hits third COVID-19 surge," 18 Oct. 2020 Vatican prosecutors are investigating a handful of Italian middlemen who are accused of having fleeced the Holy See of tens of millions of euros in fees while the Vatican's incompetent money managers stood by. Nicole Winfield, Star Tribune, "Woman close to Vatican cardinal arrested in corruption probe," 14 Oct. 2020 Vatican prosecutors are investigating a handful of Italian middlemen who are accused of having fleeced the Holy See of tens of millions of euros in fees while the Vatican’s incompetent money managers stood by. Fox News, "Woman close to Vatican cardinal arrested in corruption probe," 14 Oct. 2020 Vatican prosecutors are investigating a handful of Italian middlemen who are accused of having fleeced the Holy See of tens of millions of euros in fees while the Vatican’s incompetent money managers stood by. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Pope Francis warmly greets redeemed Cardinal Pell after abuse trial," 12 Oct. 2020 Elon Musk, Joe Rogan and Ben Shapiro, to name just a few, are leaving California to escape incompetent governance. Sam Mamudi, Bloomberg.com, "Jeffrey Gundlach Tells Realtors in Low-Tax States to ‘Give Me a Call’," 27 Sep. 2020 And Ramona didn't fess up to being a socially incompetent citizen who has traveled for the entirety of quarantine or anything like that. Jodi Walker, EW.com, "The Real Housewives of New York City recap: The return of Tinsley and her unseen footage," 11 Sep. 2020 Americans are normally slow to alter political loyalties, but what has tipped the scales is the daily display of incompetent progressive governance. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "The Culture Wars Are Back," 2 Sep. 2020 Crossfire Hurricane investigation and that Comey, if not politically biased against Trump, was incompetent in his leadership. Chris Strohm, Bloomberg.com, "Comey and Graham Face Off in Hearing Examining Russia Probe Origins," 30 Sep. 2020

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 2

History and Etymology for incompetent

Middle French incompétent, from in- + compétent competent

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Time Traveler for incompetent

Time Traveler

The first known use of incompetent was in 1595

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Statistics for incompetent

Last Updated

23 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Incompetent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incompetent. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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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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