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 Dear has repeatedly been found incompetent to stand trial on Colorado state charges and has been residing at the state hospital in Pueblo. CBS News, "Planned Parenthood shooter faces federal charges for killing 3 people in Colorado attack," 9 Dec. 2019 Court records indicate Olivo-Faberlle was committed to the facility for 120 days on Aug. 9 after he was found incompetent to stand trial on several charges. Jacob Beltran, ExpressNews.com, "Man who escaped State Hospital to be re-evaluated after leading police on chase," 29 Nov. 2019 The man charged with killing a nurse practitioner at the Froedtert Hospital parking garage has been found incompetent to proceed with an insanity plea. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Defendant in Froedtert nurse's homicide found incompetent, ordered for more treatment," 26 Nov. 2019 Shooting suspect unfit to stand trial: The teenager accused of fatally shooting 10 people at a Texas high school has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial. Washington Post, "Texas appeals court stays execution of Rodney Reed," 16 Nov. 2019 And so things are left in the hands of Mrs Lam and her paralysed, incompetent government. The Economist, "Hong Kong stares into the abyss amid growing violence," 21 Nov. 2019 Former athletic director Bill Cardarelli comes across looking incompetent. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: Hiring Jim Calhoun was a PR dream for St. Joseph. Now the reputation of the school and coach are damaged.," 16 Nov. 2019 Taylor has proven incompetent at hiring a decent staff as evidenced by both coordinators having no prior coordinating experience. Jay Brinker, Cincinnati.com, "Guest Morning Line: Here's the only way to save the Bengals. The Brown Family won't do it.," 8 Nov. 2019 Jewish actors hilariously play the two incompetent Nazi soldiers who run the camp. Lior Zaltzman, sun-sentinel.com, "There’s a long history of Jews playing Nazis on screen," 24 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for incompetent

Time Traveler

The first known use of incompetent was in 1595

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Statistics for incompetent

Last Updated

13 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Incompetent.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incompetent?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=i&file=incomp09. Accessed 16 December 2019.

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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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