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From French compétence.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈkɒmpətənsi/
    • (file)


competency (countable and uncountable, plural competencies)

  1. (obsolete) A sufficient supply (of).
    • 1612, John Smith, Proceedings of the English Colonie in Virginia, in Kupperman 1988, p. 178:
      the next day they returned unsuspected, leaving their confederates to follow, and in the interim, to convay them a competencie of all things they could []
    • 1892, Ambrose Bierce, Tales of Soldiers and Civilians - A Holy Terror
      [] it would appear that before taking this precaution Mr. Bree must have had the thrift to remove a modest competency of the gold []
  2. (obsolete) A sustainable income.
    • c. 1596–1598, William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene ii]:
      Superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer.
    • 1915, W.S. Maugham, Of Human Bondage, chapter 116:
      He had heard people speak contemptuously of money: he wondered if they had ever tried to do without it. He knew that the lack made a man petty, mean, grasping; it distorted his character and caused him to view the world from a vulgar angle; when you had to consider every penny, money became of grotesque importance: you needed a competency to rate it at its proper value.
  3. The ability to perform some task; competence.
    • 1796, Edmund Burke, Letters on a Regicide Peace
      The loan demonstrates, in regard to instrumental resources, the competency of this kingdom to the assertion of the common cause.
    • 1961, National Council for Elementary Science (U.S.), Science Education:
      What professional competencies do science teachers need?
    • 2004, Bill Clinton, My Life:
      By the year 2000, American students will leave grades four, eight, and twelve having demonstrated competency in challenging subject matter including English, mathematics, science, history, and geography....
  4. (law) Meeting specified qualifications to perform.
  5. (linguistics) Implicit knowledge of a language’s structure.



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