Definition of competence in English:


(also competency)


  • 1mass noun The ability to do something successfully or efficiently.

    ‘courses to improve the competence of staff’
    ‘the players displayed varying degrees of competence’
    • ‘A similar pattern of results was found across the measurement domains of child behavior, parenting skills and competence, and relationship adjustment.’
    • ‘Knowledge, awareness and sensitivity become important elements in developing the skills of cultural competence.’
    • ‘Although it took time for their concerns to be heard, they consistently voiced their concerns about the surgeon's competence and skill level.’
    • ‘Increasing job seekers' competence in basic skills and unskilled labor may have positive results for transitioning welfare recipients into the workforce.’
    • ‘It is hardly surprising that faculty members have taken to heart offensive comments about their professional competence, teaching skills, or personal lives.’
    • ‘The learners must demonstrate competence in all technical skills by performing the tasks.’
    • ‘Some employees are enthusiastic about their supervisor's competence and skills.’
    • ‘Their demonstrated skills and competence are envied by other servicemembers.’
    • ‘She had many friends and related openly and well to me, implying skills in social competence.’
    • ‘A further controversial point was the competence and skill available to the different types of audit organizations.’
    • ‘In our experience, the competence and skills of traditional birth attendants may vary widely across settings.’
    capability, ability, competency, capacity, proficiency, accomplishment, adeptness, adroitness, knowledge, expertise, expertness, skill, skilfulness, prowess, mastery, resources, faculties, facilities, talent, bent, aptitude, artistry, virtuosity
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    1. 1.1 The legal authority of a court or other body to deal with a particular matter.
      ‘the court's competence has been accepted to cover these matters’
      • ‘The Commission's role relates only to its legal powers and competence.’
      • ‘Finally, a ‘Sea-bed Disputes Chamber’ of the Law of the Sea Tribunal has competence over disputes concerning seabed operations and the ISBA.’
      • ‘A court's competence to grant an anti-suit injunction seems to derive from its jurisdiction to adjudicate.’
      • ‘The Court further agreed with the Commission that the primary purpose of the requirement that trade between Member States be affected was to allow for jurisdictional competence to be determined.’
      • ‘Reports are also filed by specialized agencies with competence in relevant matters.’
      • ‘But the courts have no competence to nullify, repeal or amend the legislation in question.’
      • ‘They were concerned more with the manner in which the court should exercise its jurisdiction than with its competence to entertain the motion before it.’
      • ‘He began by trying to identify the pith and substance of the Safe Streets Act in order to determine if, at least facially, it dealt with matters within provincial legislative competence.’
      • ‘Appeal to a Court whose competence is extra-European does not contribute to the progressive formation of European unity.’
      • ‘In my submission, the extraterritorial legislative competence does not depend on how another State has dealt with the subject matter.’
      • ‘I refer, also, to the powers of general competence of local authorities.’
      • ‘There is no doubt that the court, not the arbitral tribunal, has the competence to determine the court's own jurisdiction in respect of the action that is brought before it.’
      • ‘In every case when establishing the territorial competence of any given Italian Court, there is implied acceptance of the fact that the specific Court also has Italian jurisdiction.’
      • ‘Unsurprisingly, provinces can't legislate on matters of federal competence and nor can Parliament legislate on matters of provincial competence.’
      • ‘The legislation containing a ban will be on public health grounds, a policy area within the competence of the Scottish parliament.’
      • ‘Privatisation of municipal enterprises falls within the competence of the municipal councils.’
      • ‘However, whether a court with competence should actually vary a foreign trust raises a question governed by the applicable law of the trust.’
      • ‘Recently, some of the first cases involving a breach by Member States in the sphere of the Community's external competence reached the Court.’
      • ‘He claimed that the International Court of Justice in The Hague is the only body with the authority and competence to hear arguments concerning the war's legality.’
      • ‘The Assembly is given competence to exercise legislative authority in respect of those matters falling under the responsibility of the six Northern Ireland Government Departments.’
      authority, power, control, jurisdiction, ambit, scope, remit
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    2. 1.2Linguistics A person's subconscious knowledge of the rules governing the formation of speech in their first language.
      Often contrasted with performance
      • ‘The current interest in the development of communicative competence has led attention to the social uses of language in second language teaching and research.’
      • ‘This internal representation is their interlanguage competence.’
      • ‘Most testing instruments rely on the assumption that it is possible to separate analytically different aspects of language competence without reference to the context of use.’
      • ‘When assessments are aligned with a prescriptivist view of language ability, many proficient or competent speakers of the language will not fare well on the test for reasons unrelated to language competence.’
      • ‘Communicative competence is a theory of the nature of such knowledge and proficiency.’
    3. 1.3Biology Medicine Effective performance of the normal function.
      • ‘In the bacteria Haemophilus influenza and Bacillus subtilis, starvation has been shown to increase competence for DNA uptake.’
      • ‘Alterations in a normal response to inflammatory challenge may impact immune competence and overall animal performance.’
      • ‘Second, immune system competence is improved by removal of the large tumor mass.’
      • ‘Circumstances that upset the balance of immunologic competence, such as stress, can impair the local inflammatory response.’
      • ‘This shows that none of the genes absent from B. subtilis 6 is required for competence development.’
      adequacy, appropriateness, suitability, fitness
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  • 2dated An income large enough to live on, typically an unearned one.

    ‘he found himself with an ample competence and no obligations’