competent

adjective
com·​pe·​tent | \ ˈkäm-pə-tənt How to pronounce competent (audio) \

Essential Meaning of competent

1 : having the necessary ability or skills : able to do something well or well enough to meet a standard a competent [=capable] teacher She is a competent [=adequate] portrait painter but she excels with landscapes.
2 law : able to take part in a trial The defendant was declared competent to stand trial. a competent witness

Full Definition of competent

1 : proper or rightly pertinent
2 : having requisite or adequate ability or qualities : fit a competent teacher a competent piece of work
3 : legally qualified or adequate a competent witness
4 : having the capacity to function or develop in a particular way: such as
a : having the capacity to initiate an immune response following exposure to an antigen antibody production by immunologically competent B cells
b of a bacterial cell : capable of taking up exogenous DNA (as from a plasmid) during genetic transformation natural and artificially-produced competent cells

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Other Words from competent

competently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for competent

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for competent

sufficient, enough, adequate, competent mean being what is necessary or desirable. sufficient suggests a close meeting of a need. sufficient savings enough is less exact in suggestion than sufficient. do you have enough food? adequate may imply barely meeting a requirement. the service was adequate competent suggests measuring up to all requirements without question or being adequately adapted to an end. had no competent notion of what was going on

Examples of competent in a Sentence

… he was tolerated, if not endorsed as the competent painter he was. — Markus Zusak, The Book Thief, 2005 The crafting of fine violins has proceeded for centuries as a secret art, handed down through apprenticeships from generation to generation. It takes 8 years, at least, to train a competent craftsman, decades to hone a master. — Richard Lipkin, Science News, 3 Sept. 1994 "Resort cities're transient places," the detective argued. " … That doesn't mean the police aren't competent." — Joseph Wambaugh, The Secrets of Harry Bright, 1985 … I discovered that Lieutenant Lincoln—a much-admired man hereabouts, and, I imagine, an exceedingly competent physician—was from Worcester … — Alexander Woollcott, letter, 2 Oct. 1917 The defendant was declared competent to stand trial. any competent mechanic should be able to fix that
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Recent Examples on the Web The execution is competent all around, though my attention and appetite lean toward the smaller, more eccentric dishes. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, 15 Oct. 2021 In a Quinnipiac University national poll earlier this month, a majority of Americans -- 54% -- said that Biden had not been competent in running the government. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 12 Oct. 2021 Their offense looked competent with a new starter, Jordan McCloud, at quarterback. Michael Lev, The Arizona Republic, 25 Sep. 2021 After ruling that Kidwell was competent to proceed with the plea hearing and that the defendant was satisfied with Byrd's representation, Wilson's attention turned briefly to the courtroom gallery. Dale Ellis, Arkansas Online, 21 July 2021 Richard Weaver, who wrote one of the official reports on the Roswell rumors, tried to assure the public that the government isn’t competent enough to cover up a genuine alien sighting. BostonGlobe.com, 5 June 2021 Will those same defensemen be competent enough on the back end? Chris Sosa, chicagotribune.com, 23 May 2021 That’s what worked for us — a cool product that offered clear benefits and a campaign that looked competent enough that people felt comfortable pledging. John Greathouse, Forbes, 22 May 2021 One person might have exhaustion only; another might turn cynical but still feel competent. Jonathan Malesic, The New Republic, 25 Mar. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for competent

Middle English, suitable, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin competent-, competens, from present participle of competere — see compete

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Time Traveler for competent

Time Traveler

The first known use of competent was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near competent

competency

competent

competible

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Statistics for competent

Last Updated

19 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Competent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/competent. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for competent

competent

adjective
com·​pe·​tent | \ ˈkäm-pə-tənt How to pronounce competent (audio) \

Kids Definition of competent

: capable sense 2, efficient a competent teacher

Other Words from competent

competently adverb

competent

adjective
com·​pe·​tent | \ ˈkäm-pət-ənt How to pronounce competent (audio) \

Medical Definition of competent

: having the capacity to function or develop in a particular way specifically : having the capacity to respond (as by producing an antibody) to an antigenic determinant immunologically competent cells

competent

adjective
com·​pe·​tent | \ ˈkäm-pə-tənt How to pronounce competent (audio) \

Legal Definition of competent

1 : having or showing requisite or adequate ability or qualities a competent lawyer competent representation by counsel
2a : free from addiction or mental defect that renders one incapable of taking care of oneself or one's property
b : capable of understanding one's position as a criminal defendant and the nature of the criminal proceedings and able to participate in one's defense — compare capacity, incompetent, insanity
3 : legally qualified or adequate: as
a : having the necessary power or authority a judge of competent jurisdictionU.S. Code
b : qualified for presentation in court : admissible as evidence or capable of giving admissible evidence a competent witness
c : intelligent a competent waiver

More from Merriam-Webster on competent

Nglish: Translation of competent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of competent for Arabic Speakers

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