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[in-kom-pi-tuh ns] /ɪnˈkɒm pɪ təns/
the quality or condition of being incompetent; lack of ability.
Law. the condition of lacking power to act with legal effectiveness.
Also, incompetency.
Origin of incompetence
1655-65; variant (with -ence for -ency) of earlier incompetency. See incompetent, -cy Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for incompetence
  • There will be more, given our increasing ability to keep people alive long past the point of mental incompetence.
  • Stein criticized hospitals and doctors for failing to report doctors suspected of incompetence or malpractice.
  • Don't attribute anything to malevolence that can be explained by simple incompetence.
  • The administration's difficulties with various nominees have created an unfortunate impression of incompetence.
  • The refinery itself was undamaged, though it's unclear if that's by design or incompetence.
  • The notion of suing for other kinds of professional incompetence soon followed.
  • It has turned into a hot-bed of race-fighting, white-guilt pandering and in-your-face incompetence.
  • Lesser spies would have retreated from the public eye after their own incompetence blew their cover.
  • The system with many outstanding faculty suffers from administrative bloat, incompetence and not a little viciousness.
  • incompetence in civilian life, in commerce or in the professions, can have serious consequences.
Word Origin and History for incompetence

1660s, "inadequacy;" 1716, "want of skill," from French incompétence (mid-16c.), from in- "not, opposite of, without" (see in- (1)) + compétence (see competence). Native formation incompetency (from incompetent + -cy) is attested from 1610s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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incompetence in Medicine

incompetence in·com·pe·tence (ĭn-kŏm'pĭ-təns) or in·com·pe·ten·cy (-tən-sē)

  1. The quality of being incompetent or incapable of performing a function, as the failure of the cardiac valves to close properly.

  2. The condition of being not legally qualified, as to stand trial.

  3. The inability to distinguish right from wrong or 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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