qual·​i·​fy | \ ˈkwä-lə-ˌfī How to pronounce qualify (audio) \
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 for qualify



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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

Koenig notes that godparents must be baptized Christians and ideally confirmed in order to qualify, which may have excluded many of the pair’s more high-profile friends. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Here's Why Meghan Markle's Approach to Royal Baby Archie's Christening Isn't So Surprising," 6 July 2019 Alaska Division of Elections director Gail Fenumiai confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the initiative had been submitted with 100 signatures, enough to qualify it for review. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "New ballot initiative seeks to change state elections," 5 July 2019 Gauff became the youngest player in the professional era to qualify for the Wimbledon main draw. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "British player gets dumped as Wimbledon mixed doubles partner for 15-year-old American Cori 'Coco' Gauff," 4 July 2019 Allyson went to play with the Jamaican national team in 2015 to try to qualify for the Olympics. Lori Riley, courant.com, "West Hartford’s Swaby hopes women’s soccer gets more respect in Jamaica after first World Cup appearance," 3 July 2019 Social Hour Coco Gauff, a 15-year-old American who is also the youngest player ever to qualify for Wimbledon, beat Venus Williams in the first round Monday. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Morning Coffee: Louisville and Kentucky will be well-represented at NBA Summer League," 2 July 2019 Tax opponents have 90 days from Sunday’s end of the Legislative session to collect the necessary votes to qualify for the ballot. Mike Rogoway, oregonlive.com, "Oregon Legislature votes to move potential tax vote to January," 1 July 2019 Regulations don’t say precisely what criteria need to be met to qualify as being manufactured overseas, according to Kevin Wolf, a partner at law firm Akin Gump who was a Commerce Department official in the Obama administration. Yoko Kubota, WSJ, "American Tech Companies Find Ways Around Huawei Ban," 25 June 2019 There were two ways to qualify for the early debates. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "What you need to know about the first Democratic primary debate," 25 June 2019

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

10 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce qualify (audio) \
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 How to pronounce qualify (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on qualify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with qualify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for qualify

Spanish Central: Translation of qualify

Nglish: Translation of qualify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of qualify for Arabic Speakers

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).


to form ideas or theories about something

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