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 Applicants can qualify for both field and office positions. courant.com, "Community News For The Hebron Edition," 8 Nov. 2019 The top eight teams in the West Region rankings qualify for the playoffs. Anchorage Daily News, "Seawolves breeze to three-set volleyball victory over Western Oregon," 8 Nov. 2019 That injury did not prevent Ronaldo jumping up to celebrate his side's winning goal with Juventus joining Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain in qualifying for the knockout phase. John Sinnott And James Masters, CNN, "Goalscoring etiquette: Aaron Ramsey nabs goal from Cristiano Ronaldo," 6 Nov. 2019 Meanwhile, the poll also qualified Amy Klobuchar for the December debate, making her the 6th candidate to meet both thresholds. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Jeff Sessions mounts a comeback bid for Senate," 6 Nov. 2019 The pair later qualified for August's World Cup Finals, where they were received poorly by the crowd. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Aimbot video leads to lifetime ban for popular Fortnite pro," 5 Nov. 2019 Both teams qualified for the BCS National Championship game, and Alabama won the rematch, 21-0. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "When is the last time LSU beat Alabama in football?," 5 Nov. 2019 These devices don’t qualify as medical devices, however, and aren’t regulated as such. Jane Li, Quartz, "A “brain-reading” headband for students is too much even for Chinese parents," 5 Nov. 2019 Monster Energy Chevrolet, qualified for NASCAR's playoffs but was eliminated in the first round. Michael Knight, azcentral, "Busch brothers' rivalry still sizzling as NASCAR Cup series heads for Arizona," 2 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for qualify

Time Traveler

The first known use of qualify was in 1533

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Statistics for qualify

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Qualify.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/qualifying. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for qualify


How to pronounce qualify (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for qualify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with qualify

Spanish Central: Translation of qualify

Nglish: Translation of qualify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of qualify for Arabic Speakers

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