[ kom-pi-tuhnt ]
See synonyms for: competentcompetently on

  1. having suitable or sufficient skill, knowledge, experience, etc., for some purpose; properly qualified: He is perfectly competent to manage the bank branch.

  2. adequate but not exceptional.

  1. 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.

  2. Geology. (of a bed or stratum) able to undergo folding without flowage or change in thickness.

Origin of competent

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin competent- (stem of competēns, present participle of competere “to meet, agree”); see compete, -ent

synonym study For competent

1. See able.

Other words for competent

Other words from competent

  • com·pe·tent·ly, adverb
  • non·com·pe·tent, adjective
  • ul·tra·com·pe·tent, adjective
  • un·com·pe·tent, adjective

Words Nearby competent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use competent in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for competent


/ (ˈkɒmpɪtənt) /

  1. having sufficient skill, knowledge, etc; capable

  2. suitable or sufficient for the purpose: a competent answer

  1. law (of a witness) having legal capacity; qualified to testify, etc

  2. (postpositive foll by to) belonging as a right; appropriate

Origin of competent

C14: from Latin competēns, from competere to be competent; see compete

Derived forms of competent

  • competently, adverb
  • competentness, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012