Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: compétence



Borrowed from French compétence, from Late Latin competentia.


  • IPA(key): /ˈkɒmpətəns/
  • (file)


competence (countable and uncountable, plural competences)

  1. (uncountable) The quality or state of being competent, i.e. able or suitable for a general role.
    • 2005, Lies Sercu and Ewa Bandura, Foreign Language Teachers and Intercultural Competence: An International Investigation:
      Teachers are now required to teach intercultural communicative competence.
  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 or skill.
  3. (linguistics) The system of linguistic knowledge possessed by native speakers of a language, as opposed to its actual use in concrete situations (performance), cf. linguistic competence.
  4. (dated) A sustainable income.
    • 1733, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Man. [], (please specify |epistle=I to IV), London: Printed for J[ohn] Wilford, [], OCLC 960856019:
      Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense, / Lie in three words — health, peace, and competence.
    • 1811, Jane Austen, chapter 17, in Sense and Sensibility:
      “money can only give happiness where there is nothing else to give it. Beyond a competence, it can afford no real satisfaction, as far as mere self is concerned.”
  5. (countable, law, politics) the legal authority to deal with a matter.
    • 2016, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, “Division of competences in the European Union”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name)[1]:
      K C Wheare's definition of federalism requires that two governments be independent and co-ordinate within their own spheres, generally set out by the division of competences codified in a constitution, which is supreme.
    • 2003, Rodrigo Uprimny, “The constitutional court and control of presidential extraordinary powers in Colombia”, in Democratization[2]:
      Also, the Constitutional Court has tried to reduce impunity in cases of human rights abuses by narrowly interpreting the legal competence of military justice to investigate military and police officers.
  6. (geology) The degree to which a rock is resistant to deformation or flow.



Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.