Did you know?

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

competent - 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.



Thesaurus diagram

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.

adjective     competent pronunciation in American English
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    capable of doing something in a satisfactory or effective way

    a competent worker

    competent to do something:

    Is he really competent to run the switchboard?

    competent at:

    She is very competent at communicating.

  2. 2
    good enough for the purpose but not especially good

    a competent piece of work

  3. 3
    legal allowed to have a case judged in court

derived word

Open Dictionary


a rise in the level of a stream or river

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