Definition of competent in English:



  • 1Having the necessary ability, knowledge, or skill to do something successfully.

    ‘a highly competent surgeon’
    [with infinitive] ‘make sure the firm is competent to carry out the work’
    • ‘Hospital officials say general surgeons have to be competent to do everything - or do nothing.’
    • ‘The voters' choice is now more like that of shareholders deciding which of two or three competing management teams seems more competent to run the company.’
    • ‘As a result, colleges of agriculture must ensure that graduates are competent in computer skills necessary for success with regard to these trends.’
    • ‘He said that a qualification received 20 years ago was a qualification received 20 years ago - it does not make one competent to practise.’
    • ‘In fact, I've always rather thought he was a very able, competent public servant.’
    • ‘Everyone associated with a particular piece of equipment must be familiar with it and competent to use it correctly.’
    • ‘Nurse practitioners have become competent lower gastrointestinal endoscopists, but only recently have they been shown to carry out upper endoscopies without any problems.’
    • ‘They allow children the opportunities to learn relevant skills and feel competent about their ability to learn.’
    • ‘Are health care providers competent and educated?’
    • ‘These types of crimes are disturbing, and their victims need advocates who are competent in both medical and legal settings.’
    • ‘To begin with, we view doctors as the experts competent to help insure that pregnancy has a good outcome: a healthy baby.’
    • ‘In the center zone, the learner is knowledgeable and competent to complete tasks on his own.’
    • ‘It is really thrilling that the bill will further protect the public by ensuring that practitioners are not only fit to practise but also competent to do so.’
    • ‘A major challenge for colleges of pharmacy is to produce competent pharmacy practitioners while minimizing student attrition.’
    • ‘He is competent and decent - but lacks that certain something.’
    • ‘Please approach a general surgeon who is competent to do both forms of surgery.’
    • ‘My next question relates to the purpose of the bill, which is written down as being to protect the public interest by aiming to ensure that veterinarians are competent to practise.’
    • ‘Workers experience autonomy within the work organization when they feel competent to act alone.’
    • ‘But it may be some time before they do their part to teach young people all the skills necessary to become competent, successful adults.’
    • ‘Standardization simply supports the safe practice of competent clinicians.’
    acquainted with, familiar with, with a knowledge of, with an understanding of, conversant with, au courant with, au fait with
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    1. 1.1(of a person) efficient and capable.
      ‘an infinitely competent mother of three’
      • ‘But this couple are two highly trained and, obviously, highly competent people who are happy to come to this country and benefit from the nice New Zealand taxpayer.’
      • ‘These are highly professional, highly competent people.’
      • ‘Tang and Siew are both talented and competent persons.’
      • ‘She's competent and skilful and brave and strong.’
      • ‘The observation brought to mind the fact that we train highly competent women students for a career in IT.’
      • ‘For example, there's an ingrained distrust in our society of highly intelligent, highly trained, highly competent persons.’
      • ‘Use words that show her that she is competent, capable, and talented.’
      • ‘They will say he's more competent and more accomplished.’
      • ‘We will continue to develop well-educated, motivated, and competent people skilled in the demands of the space medium.’
      • ‘What he discovered was that while a company can have talented and competent employees, they can readily get in trouble.’
      • ‘So basically, the thought is that this woman is going to start slashing the department, and only the really competent people will remain.’
      • ‘Most importantly, he is also a very competent member of a trawler's crew, capable of gutting the fish fast enough to keep the packers happy.’
      capable, able, proficient, adept, adroit, accomplished, skilful, skilled, gifted, talented, masterly, virtuoso, expert, knowledgeable, qualified, trained
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    2. 1.2Acceptable and satisfactory, though not outstanding.
      ‘she spoke quite competent French’
      • ‘The Federation is by far the most competent (another reason to play them) in terms of technology, economy and sheer size.’
      • ‘K - 19: The Widowmaker is a competent, satisfactory submarine movie.’
      • ‘So maybe Interpol will continue to mature and put out decent, enjoyable, competent albums for the rest of their career.’
      • ‘No matter how low the taxes are considered to be here, I still don't see the point in paying them at the expense of a humane, decent, competent, consistent and affordable health care system that anyone deserves.’
      • ‘Patients expected competent nursing care and clear, consistent communication and coordination between members of the healthcare team.’
      • ‘The half continued with both sides competent but neither outstanding.’
      • ‘The IOC makes the NFL look at least reasonably competent.’
      • ‘I'm interested in the fact that neither side in this argument seemed adequately competent.’
      • ‘Overall, it's a competent but not outstanding transfer from Columbia.’
      • ‘First, the good news: the soundtrack is a simple stereo mix, and sounds reasonably competent.’
      • ‘Our information concerning Mormonism must be accurate and up-to-date, while our critique must be competent as well as fair.’
      • ‘I really want to replace my lovely Pentax SLR with a moderately competent equivalent.’
      • ‘The combination of glossy production, adequate acting and competent editing was enough to make Pearl Harbor or The Mummy Returns at least tolerable.’
      • ‘The video and audio is about what you'd expect for an independent release - competent, but not outstanding.’
      • ‘One of the most common features of death row cases in Texas is the lack of adequate or competent defense.’
      • ‘But most were at least competent, some outstanding.’
      • ‘In short, it was silly, funny, competent and only moderately contrived (for the genre).’
      • ‘We'd been warned about possible poor service, but actually it was competent, if not outstanding.’
      • ‘To do this well requires skill no less than does a competent physical examination.’
      adequate, acceptable, satisfactory, reasonable, fair, decent, good enough, sufficiently good, not bad, all right, average, tolerable, passable, moderate, middling
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    3. 1.3(chiefly of a court or other body) accepted as having legal authority to deal with a particular matter.
      ‘the governor was not the competent authority to deal with the matter’
      • ‘What it means is that a competent authority, presumably ASIO, assessed him as an adverse security risk.’
      • ‘My third point is that I note that the Ministry of Economic Development is New Zealand's competent authority in relation to this legislation.’
      • ‘Area military commanders, or the competent authority appointed by the president, have the power to requisition buildings, land and vehicles for relief work.’
      • ‘Notification of charges should be prompt, preferably as soon as a competent authority first makes the charge.’
      • ‘Following his ‘conviction by a competent court’ in December 1966, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.’
      • ‘The issue in question must have been decided by a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction.’
      • ‘There is a right of recourse against any other person liable under the Protocol, or under a contract, or under the law of the competent court.’
      • ‘It would be wholly absurd to regard each State Department Advisory or similar warning by a competent authority as a separate occurrence for the purposes of the deductible.’
      • ‘In other words, this is a finding of fact for the competent authority dealing with the case in the first instance and which, for reasons we give hereunder, we should not interfere with.’
      • ‘In Germany and The Netherlands, for example, the protocol can be submitted to both the competent authority and the ethics committee simultaneously.’
      • ‘Under Article 9 the procedure of an appeal to a competent authority must precede the decision ordering expulsion except in cases of urgency.’
      • ‘It would be safe and in conformity with legal and moral principles that you turn to a competent court of justice and file for a divorce.’
      • ‘However it appears to the Environment Agency that the ancient navigable status of the Thames at Hedsor has never been extinguished by statute or by any other competent authority.’
      • ‘That our appeals to competent authority were wholly inconsistent doesn't matter.’
      • ‘That being the case, it is inconceivable to me that an accused cannot raise, by way of prerogative writ, the issue of the statutory validity of service before a court of competent jurisdiction.’
      • ‘In some cases, things may have happened (e.g. a conviction by a competent court or action being taken with a view to removal) which justify detention.’
      • ‘It is a question of fact and degree in respect of which the court will only interfere with the decision of the competent authority if its conclusion is plainly wrong.’
      • ‘She concedes that a review by a competent authority was required before the claimant could be considered for release.’
      • ‘I went to court because the court is the only competent authority to judge whether the allegation holds or not.’
      • ‘The doctrine of res judicata prevents relitigation of matters that have already been determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.’
      fit, fitted, equipped, suitable, suited, appropriate
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    4. 1.4(of a criminal defendant) able to understand the charges and to aid in defending themselves.
    5. 1.5Biology Medicine Capable of performing the normal function effectively.
      • ‘‘This work challenges the view that neonates are not immune competent at birth,’ said Dr Griebel.’
      • ‘Thirdly, simvastatin inhibits endothelial cell apoptosis and preserves ischaemic vasculature, perhaps maintaining a competent vascular supply to the macula.’
      • ‘The corrected reticulocyte index should be elevated in patients with an acute anemia but a competent bone marrow.’


Late Middle English (in the sense suitable, adequate): from Latin competent-, from the verb competere in its earlier sense be fit or proper (see compete).