- not competent; lacking qualification or ability; incapable: an incompetent candidate.
- characterized by or showing incompetence: His incompetent acting ruined the play.
- being unable or legally unqualified to perform specified acts or to be held legally responsible for such acts.
- inadmissible, as evidence.
- an incompetent person; a mentally deficient person.
- Law. a person lacking power to act with legal effectiveness.
Origin of incompetent
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for incompetent
Early on, the sexual protagonist complains that her Molson-drinking husband is pretty much an incompetent Neanderthal.‘A Gronking to Remember’ Speed Read: 8 Naughtiest Bits
January 7, 2015
The cops were as incompetent as they often appear to be in the Holmes stories.Sherlock Holmes Vs. Jack the Ripper
November 16, 2014
Insufficient protocols or incompetent practices for and by the nurses in the hospital hot zone.Disease History Vs. Disease Hysteria
October 19, 2014
To buy that you would have to accept that Brooks was either negligent or incompetent.Murdoch on the Rocks: How a Lone Reporter Revealed the Mogul's Tabloid Terror Machine
August 25, 2014
According to the historian John Saunders, he was a “weak, vain, incompetent and cowardly” leader.In Threatening Baghdad, Militants Seek to Undo 800 Years of History
August 16, 2014
If she was incompetent I wasn't bound to keep her just because she'd had a baby.Life and Death of Harriett Frean
He knew how Washington and incompetent officers had blundered and lied to them.When the West Was Young
Frederick R. Bechdolt
He was drawn this way and that, struggling with a brain that he knew to be incompetent.The Twins of Suffering Creek
In fact, he felt like a jelly fish save that he was twice as incompetent.Mixed Faces
He was unsystematic in his habits, and incompetent in money matters.History of the Moravian Church
J. E. Hutton
- not possessing the necessary ability, skill, etc to do or carry out a task; incapable
- marked by lack of ability, skill, etc
- law not legally qualifiedan incompetent witness
- (of rock strata, folds, etc) yielding readily to pressure so as to undergo structural deformation
- an incompetent person
Word Origin and History for incompetent
1610s, "insufficient," from French incompétent, from Late Latin incompetentem (nominative incompetens) "insufficient," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + Latin competentem (see competent). Sense of "lacking qualification or ability" first recorded 1630s. The noun meaning "incompetent person" is from 1866. Related: Incompetently.
- Inadequate for or unsuited to a particular purpose or application.
- Incapable of proper functioning.
- Not qualified in legal terms.