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Definition of the noun competence

What does competence mean as a name of something?

noun - plural: competences

  1. the quality of being adequately or well qualified physically and intellectually
    • examples: Linguistic competence is inborn, not acquired. | Develop your linguistic competence as much as possible. | Competence and performance are two different things. | The staff is much better than last year, since now there's better organization and competence. | The Competence Center serves as a meeting place of problems and solutions. | I'm not questioning your competence.
    • lexical domain: Attributes - nouns denoting attributes of people and objects
    • synonym of competence: competency
    • antonym of competence: incompetence
    • more generic word: ability = the quality of being able to perform
    • more specific terms:
      • fitness = the quality of being qualified
      • linguistic competence = a speaker's implicit, internalized knowledge of the rules of their language
      • proficiency = the quality of having great facility and competence

Alternative definition of the noun competence


  1. [uncountable] The quality or state of being competent, i.e. able or suitable for a general role.
  2. [countable] The quality or state of being able or suitable for a particular task; the quality or state of being competent for a particular task.
  3. A sustainable income.
  4. [countable] In law, the legal authority to deal with a matter.

Specialised definition of the noun competence

Glossary of sports

the ability to do something well, measured against a standard, especially ability that you get through experience or training (2006. Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science. A&C Black Publishers Ltd)


  1. Competence: In United States law, competence concerns the mental capacity of an individual to participate in legal proceedings or transactions, and the mental condition a person must have to be responsible for his or her decisions or acts. Competence is an attribute that is decision specific. Depending on various factors which typically revolve around mental function integrity, an individual may or may not be competent to make a particular medical decision, a particular contractual agreement, to execute an effective deed to real property, or to execute a will having certain terms. Depending on the state, a guardian or conservator may be appointed by a court for a person who satisfies the state's tests for general incompetence, and the guardian or conservator exercises the incompetent's rights for the incompetent. Defendants who do not possess sufficient "competence" are usually excluded from criminal prosecution, while witnesses found not to possess requisite competence cannot testify. The English equivalent is fitness to plead.
  2. Competence: In geology competence refers to the degree of resistance of rocks to either erosion or deformation in terms of relative mechanical strength. In mining 'competent rocks' are those in which an unsupported opening can be made. Competent rocks are more commonly exposed at outcrop as they tend to form upland areas and high cliffs or headlands, where present on a coastline. Incompetent rocks tend to form lowlands and are often poorly exposed at the surface. During deformation competent beds tend to deform elastically by either buckling or faulting/fracturing. Incompetent beds tend to deform more plastically, although it is the 'competence contrast' between different rocks that is most important in determining the types of structure that are formed. The relative competence of rocks may change with temperature, such as in metamorphosed limestones, which are relatively competent at low metamorphic grade but become highly incompetent at high metamorphic grade.
  3. Competence: Competencies are characteristics which drive outstanding performance in a given job, role or function. A competency model refers to a group of competencies required in a particular job and usually number 7 to 9 in total. The number and type of competencies in a model will depend upon the nature and complexity of work along with the culture and values of the organisation in which the work takes place.

Phrases with Competence

  1. competence hearing
  2. linguistic competence

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Competence

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewEmerging Research in Artificial Intelligence and Computational Intelligence (2012)

International Conference, AICI 2012, Chengdu, China, October 26-28, 2012. Proceedings by Jingsheng Lei, Fu Lee Wang, Hepu Deng, Duoqian Miao

Competence and Core Competence Competence is a comprehensive capability by which a firm, or an...

Google previewThe Encyclopaedia of Sports Medicine: An IOC Medical Commission Publication, The Young Athlete (2008)

by Helge Hebestreit, Oded Bar-Or

Perceived competence refers to one's beliefs or judgments about abilities in a particular achievement domain (e.g.,

Google previewThe Routledge Pragmatics Encyclopedia (2010)

by Louise Cummings

Linguistic competence is a useful, even necessary, abstraction, which enables us to understand knowledge of language...

Linguistic competence is the system of knowledge that every normal person has as a speaker of one's native language.

Google previewAn Alternative Way of Managing Health & Safety (2005)

by Jose D. Perezgonzalez

The workforce health and safety competence is a throughput in the H&S-MS which can be managed through both the expertise management...

Google previewReflections on Communicative Language Teaching (2012)

A Course Book for Teaching English as a Foreign Language by Peter McKenzie-Brown

Discourse competence refers to the learner's ability to use the new language in spoken and written discourse – how well a person can combine grammatical forms and meanings to find different ways to speak or write. How well does the ...

Google previewMoral Leadership in Action (2003)

Building and Sustaining Moral Competence in European Organizations by Heidi von Weltzien Hoivik

Moral competence is the ability to handle moral problems given these circumstances, not succumbing to, or embracing them like...

Google previewQuestions of Competence (1998)

Culture, Classification and Intellectual Disability by Richard Jenkins

Angrosino, for example, argues that the only truly cross-cultural competence is the individual capacity to construct personally satisfying identities. Davies ...

Google previewHealth Literacy in Primary Care (2007)

A Clinician's Guide by Gloria G. Mayer, RN, EdD, FAAN, Michael Villaire, MSLM

Conscious competence refers to the state of intentionally learning about different cultures and providing culturally responsive care. Unconscious competence refers to a health care provider's ability to spontaneously provide culturally ...

Google previewThe Potential of the Novel "Bend it Like Beckham" for Intercultural Learning in the EFL Classroom (2009)

by Katharina Keil

Intercultural communicative competence is a huge topic in German publications since the early 1990s.

Intercultural competence means that people are able to get on with other people having a different culture and that people are able to ...

Google previewNurse-Client Communication: a Life Span Approach (2008)

by Deborah Antai-Otong

Cultural competence is the venue in which these actions occur. Cultural competence...

Nursing competence also means avoiding stereotyping or assuming certain behaviors based on gender, race, culture, ethnicity, or age. A willingness and ...

Google previewIntegrating the Arts Across the Elementary School Curriculum (2011)

by Phyllis Gelineau

Competence means the ability to use an array of knowledge and skills. Terms often used to describe these include creation, performance, production, history, culture, perception, analysis, criticism, aesthetics, technology, and appreciation.

Google previewBrothers, Stand Firm (2014)

Seven Things Every Man Should Know, Practice, and Invest in the Next Generation by Steve Bateman

Both/And While competence is the ability to recall the content of the Bible, character is the humility that obeys the commands of the Bible. While competence is what you know, character is who you are, and it takes both elements to be a ...

Google previewMulticultural Perspectives In Social Work Practice with Families, 3rd Edition (2012)

by Elaine P. Congress, MSSW, DSW, Manny J. Gonzalez, DSW

Cultural competence is a set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that enable social work agencies and professionals to effectively serve individuals by incorporating the values and belief systems of those being served. Cultural competence is ...

Google previewThe Question of Competence (2012)

Reconsidering Medical Education in the Twenty-First Century by Brian D. Hodges, Lorelei Lingard

Competence. Brian D. Hodges Competence Is a Shifting Construct Competence is a word that is so frequently used, in so many different ways, that it risks having no meaning at all. As mentioned in the introduction, Lingard (2009, 625) has ...

Google previewDictionary of Cognitive Science (2004)

Neuroscience, Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, Linguistics, and Philosophy by Olivier Houdé, Daniel Kayser, Olivier Koenig, Joëlle Proust, François Rastier

COMPETENCE/PERFORMANCE. Linguistics.—Humans acquire language and linguistic knowledge in a largely unconscious way (→LANGUAGE). Ferdinand de Saussure made the distinction betweenlangue(language,asystem oflinguistic ...

Google previewAn International Dictionary of Adult and Continuing Education (2012)

by Peter Jarvis

competence. 1. The level of skill and knowledge (and sometimes attitude is also specified) necessary to perform work efficiently, according to the standards accepted by a profession or occupation at a given time. 2. The ability to perform at an ...

Google previewA Cultural Journey through the English Lexicon (2011)

by Roberta Facchinetti


Google previewEncyclopedia of Contemporary Literary Theory (1993)

Approaches, Scholars, Terms by Irene Rima Makaryk

'Competence' and 'performance' are terms developed by the American linguist ' Noam Chomsky. They are central to transformational generative grammar and have become widely used in linguistics as a whole as well as in psychology, ...

Google previewElgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition (2012)

by J. M. Smits

At the same time, the system is pluralist, due to the various layers of competence.

Google previewEncyclopedia of Human Resources Information Systems: Challenges in e-HRM (2008)

Challenges in e-HRM by Torres-Coronas, Teresa

Competence. Recognition. E Figure 2. An example shows tacit signal vectors of...

The human competence (or capacity) refers here to behaviors and actions, but also to the tacit abilities underlying human behavior and action.

Google previewThe Encyclopedia of the Novel (2014)

Narrative competence permits audiences even with widely divergent backgrounds, in dissimilar contexts, to have similar intuitions about stories, and often to agree on basic—and even complex—rules by which stories operate. As an outgrowth ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Competence

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Usage statistics about competence

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the noun competence:


Comparison of usage frequency between the noun competence and its most common antonym:


Photos about Competence

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Small photo of Macro photo of tooth wheel mechanism with COMPETENCE concept related words imprinted on metal surfaceSmall photo of competence concept - handwriting on a napkin with a cup of espresso coffeeSmall photo of Hand pressing Competence button on interface with blue background.Small photo of Tablet on desktop with competence text.Small photo of Competence word cube on reflectionSmall photo of COMPETENCE BUSINESS SEARCH WEBSITE INTERNET SEARCHING CONCEPTSmall photo of Glowing gear with icon "Competence" in the hands of a businessman. Business concept. Internet concept. More...

Video language resources about Competence

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Sign language

Sign Language - Level 2: Structures for commenting on competence or expertise

Quotes about Competence

Competence, like truth, beauty and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. (Laurence J. Peter)
more quotes about competence...

Scrabble value of C3O1M3P3E1T1E1N1C3E1

The value of this 10-letter word is 18 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

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