Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

competence - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun competence pronunciation in American English /ˈkɑmpɪtəns/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [uncountable] the ability to do something in a satisfactory or effective way

    He demonstrated thorough competence in dealing with the issues.

    1. a.
      [uncountable] formal a person’s range of skills or knowledge
  2. 2
    [uncountable] legal the fact of being allowed to have your case judged by a court
    1. a.
      the fact of being allowed to be a witness in a court case

sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an electric skateboard

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play