1. Properly or sufficiently qualified; capable: a competent typist.
2. Adequate for the purpose: a competent performance.
3. Law Legally qualified or fit to perform an act.
[Middle English, adequate, from Old French, from Latin competēns, competent-, present participle of competere, to be suitable; see COMPETE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.