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 Organizers of the recall effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom collected enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, state election officials said Monday, likely triggering just the second such election in state history. Time, "California Gov. Gavin Newsom Likely Headed for Recall Election After Organizers Gather 1.6 Million Signatures," 27 Apr. 2021 For a recall to qualify for the ballot, critics needed to gather valid signatures from 12 percent of the voters in the last election for governor. New York Times, "How Gavin Newsom Landed in a California Jam," 27 Apr. 2021 The Newsom administration released an update on its investigations Monday shortly after Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber reported there were sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot an effort to recall the governor. Patrick Mcgreevy, Los Angeles Times, "California has opened hundreds of investigations into unemployment fraud involving prisoners," 26 Apr. 2021 Recall backers needed at least 1,495,709 valid signatures to qualify, which represents 12% of the votes cast in the state's last gubernatorial election. Stella Chan And Kyung Lah, CNN, "Critics of California governor gather enough signatures to force recall election," 26 Apr. 2021 Ware is also in the running to qualify for state in the 200, finishing third in 21.59 seconds. Dallas News, "2021 Class 6A Region II track and field meet: DeSoto girls dominate to win title, Cedar Hill boys place third," 25 Apr. 2021 In fact, in many states, coroners need only be of legal age with no felony convictions to qualify for the job. The Editors, Scientific American, "Those Who Investigate Premature Deaths Should Have Medical Training," 23 Apr. 2021 Team Alaska is the only Alaska squad to qualify for a Tier I national tournament. Anchorage Daily News, "8 youth hockey teams, including a Team Alaska Tier I team, prepare for national championships," 23 Apr. 2021 Secretary of State Bob Evnen said the Legal Marijuana NOW Party has met the requirements to qualify as a political party. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Jill Biden, Gay Men’s Chorus, eel fishery: News from around our 50 states," 23 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for qualify

Time Traveler

The first known use of qualify was in 1533

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Statistics for qualify

Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Qualify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/qualify. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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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Comments on qualify

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