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incompetence

or incompetency

[in-kom-pi-tuh ns or in-kom-pi-tuh n-see] /ɪnˈkɒm pɪ təns or ɪnˈkɒm pɪ tən si/
noun
1.
the quality or condition of being incompetent; lack of ability.
2.
Law. the condition of lacking power to act with legal effectiveness.
Origin of incompetence
1655-1665
1655-65; variant (with -ence for -ency) of earlier incompetency. See incompetent, -cy
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for incompetence
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If any are debarred, the cause must be their own incompetence.

    Recollections and Impressions Octavius Brooks Frothingham
  • Democracy must always have incompetence in one form or another.

  • Though one part of his mind wanted him to smile at the quick assumption of his incompetence.

    Deathworld Harry Harrison
  • The jury system is nothing but a refined example of the cult of incompetence.

  • Through the incompetence of Titus and Lockridge, the key to Nicaragua was lost, perhaps for ever.

    By-Ways of War James Jeffrey Roche
Word Origin and History for incompetence
n.

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)
n.

  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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Difficulty index for incompetence

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for incompetence

20
26
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