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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 competently
  • Even if done honestly and competently, those kinds of changes may have introduced enough noise to render the data useless.
  • He stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently.
  • In seven of the cases, he failed to perform legal services competently or take steps to avoid prejudice to his clients' rights.
British Dictionary definitions for competently


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 competently



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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competently 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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