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[kom-pi-tuh nt] /ˈkɒm pɪ tənt/
having suitable or sufficient skill, knowledge, experience, etc., for some purpose; properly qualified:
He is perfectly competent to manage the bank branch.
adequate but not exceptional.
Law. (of a witness, a party to a contract, etc.) having legal competence, as by meeting certain minimum requirements of age, soundness of mind, or the like.
Geology. (of a bed or stratum) able to undergo folding without flowage or change in thickness.
Origin of competent
1350-1400; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin competent- (stem of competēns, present participle of competere to meet, agree). See compete, -ent
Related forms
competently, adverb
noncompetent, adjective
noncompetently, adverb
ultracompetent, adjective
uncompetent, adjective
uncompetently, adverb
1. fit, capable, proficient. See able. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for competent
  • Fortunately for the world, they are less competent, less well-trained.
  • It can make you more popular, even make you seem more competent.
  • And that is why competent people have redundant systems and methods to backup the function of primary systems and methods.
  • Even a competent high school student should have a better grasp of the science than the confusion which you exhibit.
  • If you want to do the same, make sure you get competent advice from a trainer.
  • In a normal, human household, infants are surrounded by fully competent language users.
  • Our students are extremely good, smart, intelligent and competent.
  • Preparations have been made for a fine show, and the company has been under the direction of a competent trainer for two months.
  • The honey badgers are competent tree climbers and do break into bee hives during the day.
  • And there are real opportunities for mathematically competent biologists.
British Dictionary definitions for competent


having sufficient skill, knowledge, etc; capable
suitable or sufficient for the purpose: a competent answer
(law) (of a witness) having legal capacity; qualified to testify, etc
(postpositive) foll by to. belonging as a right; appropriate
Derived Forms
competently, adverb
competentness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin competēns, from competere to be competent; see compete
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for competent

late 14c., "suitable," from Old French competent "sufficient, appropriate, suitable," from Latin competentem (nominative competens), present participle of competere "coincide, agree" (see compete). Meaning "able, fit" is from 1640s. Legal sense is late 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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competent in Medicine

competent com·pe·tent (kŏm'pĭ-tənt)

  1. Properly or sufficiently qualified; capable.

  2. Capable of performing an allotted or required function.

  3. Legally qualified or fit to perform an act.

  4. Able to distinguish right from wrong and to manage one's affairs.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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