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

The man accused of killing 83-year-old Ruby Steplight last year inside her southwest Orange County home was declared incompetent to proceed with his murder trial, court records show. Tess Sheets, orlandosentinel.com, "Man accused of killing 83-year-old woman ruled incompetent to stand trial, records show," 2 Sep. 2019 To suggest Disney is infallible while Sony is incompetent is a level of corporate investment that feels gross. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'Spider-Man' Divorce Shows Ugly Side of Fandom," 22 Aug. 2019 No one wants to come off as incompetent or inexperienced to their boss or coworkers, but a big part of advancing in your career is learning new things and not being afraid to seek out help. Kathryn Vasel, CNN, "How to look like you know what you're doing at work even when you don't," 15 Aug. 2019 If so, how is the great danger (an incompetent or radically unstable president) to be handled? Lance Morrow, WSJ, "Trump, Mrs. Wilson and That ‘Senior Official’," 6 Sep. 2018 In May, a judge ruled Valentina was incompetent to face the charges and must stay in jail to receive treatment through the Restoration to Competency Program. Uriel J. Garcia, azcentral, "Mom of a jailed woman with mental illnesses asks that she be released," 24 July 2019 Perhaps this is why Johnson withheld support from the former ambassador to the U.S., who described the Trump administration as incompetent, forcing his resignation. Luke Reader, The Conversation, "Is Boris Johnson, Britain’s new prime minister, anti-immigrant, a homophobe, a bigot – or just politically expedient?," 24 July 2019 Ferdinand quickly took up a campaign declaring his daughter mentally incompetent and styling himself as the rule of Castile. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "What Was Catherine of Aragon's Sister, Juana la Loca, Really Like?," 10 June 2019 So far, doctors have concluded Selters is incompetent for trial but is being treated in hopes of restoring his mental competency. Fox News, "Man accused in guitar killing of mom plans insanity defense," 11 Apr. 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

6 Sep 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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