qual·i·fy | \ˈkwä-lə-ˌfī \
qualified; qualifying

Definition of qualify 

transitive verb

1a : to reduce from a general to a particular or restricted form : modify

b : to make less harsh or strict : moderate

c : to alter the strength or flavor of

d : to limit or modify the meaning of qualify a noun

2 : to characterize by naming an attribute : describe cannot qualify it as … either glad or sorry— T. S. Eliot

3a : to fit by training, skill, or ability for a special purpose

b(1) : to declare competent or adequate : certify

(2) : to invest with legal capacity : license

intransitive verb

1 : to be or become fit (as for an office) : meet the required standard

2 : to acquire legal or competent power or capacity has just qualified as a lawyer

3a : to exhibit a required degree of ability in a preliminary contest qualified for the finals

b : to shoot well enough to earn a marksmanship badge

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Synonyms & Antonyms for qualify


accredit, authorize, certify, commission, empower, enable, invest, license (also licence), vest, warrant



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Examples of qualify in a Sentence

His experience qualifies him for the job. The training will qualify you to sell insurance. They both qualify for the job. Did she qualify to receive financial aid? Financial assistance is available for those who qualify. The win qualifies her to compete in the final race. The certification qualifies you to teach only in this state.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Students with a grade point average of 3.75 or better qualify for the dean's list. Michelle Mullins, Naperville Sun, "Naperville People in the News," 13 July 2018 The Louisiana black bear qualified as endangered in recent years, only coming off the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's list in 2016, Baton Rouge's The Advocate noted. Joshua Hafner, ajc, "Hunter fined $10,000 for killing black bear in Louisiana," 12 July 2018 Around 1,000 have passed through the site; the first 14 degree apprentices will qualify in 2021. The Economist, "A welcome upgrade to apprenticeships," 12 July 2018 Nigeria flew through qualifying and were the first team to qualify from the region unbeaten in a group that had strong challenge from Zambia, Algeria and Cameroon. Steven Goff, Houston Chronicle, "FIFA president: World Cup could expand to 48 teams in 2022, ahead of schedule," 13 July 2018 Jones joined the Heat in December on a two-way contract, a lower-paying deal that limited players last season to 45 days on an NBA roster. The Heat previously had extended Jones a qualifying offer based on another two-way deal. Ira Winderman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Heat sign Derrick Jones Jr. to standard contract, roster now at 11 guaranteed deals," 1 July 2018 Shooter has filed more than 800 signatures to qualify for the primary election ballot in the southwestern Arizona district. CBS News, "Court rules state lawmaker booted from office over harassment claims can run again," 28 June 2018 About 10,000 qualifying Tarrant County children can get free supplies and dental, health and vision screenings at the event. Diane Smith, star-telegram, "Want help through Back to School Roundup? Here's how to register," 27 June 2018 Thero's website lists qualified mental health professionals. Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, "It's surprisingly hard to seek mental health help. This website can make it easier.," 27 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'qualify.' 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 qualify

1533, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for qualify

Middle French qualifier, from Medieval Latin qualificare, from Latin qualis

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Statistics for qualify

Last Updated

2 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for qualify

The first known use of qualify was in 1533

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More Definitions for qualify



English Language Learners Definition of qualify

: to give (someone) the necessary skill or knowledge to do a particular job or activity

: to have the necessary skill or knowledge to do a particular job or activity : to have the qualifications to do something

: to pass an exam or complete a course of study that is required in order to do something


qual·i·fy | \ˈkwä-lə-ˌfī \
qualified; qualifying

Kids Definition of qualify

1 : to give the training, skill, or ability needed for a special purpose His experience qualifies him for the job.

2 : to have or show the skill or ability needed for a special purpose or event They both qualify for the job.

3 : to narrow down or make less general in meaning I qualify my statement. Adverbs qualify verbs.


qual·i·fy | \ˈkwä-lə-ˌfī \
qualified; qualifying

Legal Definition of qualify 

transitive verb

1 : to limit or modify in some way

2 : to make or consider eligible or fit his training and experience qualified him as an expert witness

3 : to issue a certificate or license to

intransitive verb

1 : to meet certain requirements or criteria qualify for a tax credit

2 : to acquire competent power or capacity has just qualified as a lawyer

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Comments on qualify

What made you want to look up qualify? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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