[ kom-pi-tuhnt ]
/ 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.

Nearby words

  1. comper,
  2. compere,
  3. compete,
  4. competence,
  5. competency,
  6. competently,
  7. competing,
  8. competition,
  9. competitive,
  10. competitive binding assay

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

Synonym study

1. See able. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for competently

British Dictionary definitions for competently


/ (ˈkɒmpɪtənt) /


having sufficient skill, knowledge, etc; capable
suitable or sufficient for the purposea competent answer
law (of a witness) having legal capacity; qualified to testify, etc
(postpositive foll by to) belonging as a right; appropriate
Derived Formscompetently, adverbcompetentness, noun

Word Origin for competent

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 Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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

Medicine definitions for competently


[ kŏmpĭ-tənt ]


Properly or sufficiently qualified; capable.
Capable of performing an allotted or required function.
Legally qualified or fit to perform an act.
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.