AskDefine | Define competence

Dictionary Definition

competence n : the quality of being adequately or well qualified physically and intellectually [syn: competency] [ant: incompetence]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The quality or state of being able or suitable for a general role; the quality or state of being competent 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. The quality or state of being able or suitable for a particular task; the quality or state of being competent for a particular task.
    • 1961, National Council for Elementary Science (U.S.), Science Education:
      What professional competences do science teachers need?


See also


the quality or state of being competent for a general role.
  • Finnish: kompetenssi
  • German: Kompetenz, Befähigung, Zuständigkeit
the quality or state of being competent for a particular task.
  • Finnish: kompetenssi
  • German: Kompetenz, Sachkunde, Befugnis, Können

Extensive Definition

Competence is the ability to perform some task. Incompetence is its opposite.
  • Competence (biology), the ability of a cell to take up DNA
  • Competence (human resources), a standardized requirement for an individual to properly perform a specific job
  • Competence (law), the mental capacity of an individual to participate in legal proceedings
  • Jurisdiction, the authority of a legal body to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility
  • Linguistic competence, the ability to speak and understand language in a grammatically correct manner
competence in Czech: Kompetence (rozcestník)
competence in German: Kompetenz
competence in Spanish: Competencia
competence in Galician: Competencia
competence in Dutch: Competentie
competence in Portuguese: Competência

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

ability, ableness, absolute power, absolutism, address, adeptness, adequacy, adequate supply, adequateness, adroitness, airmanship, appropriateness, artfulness, artisanship, artistry, authority, bare minimum, bare sufficiency, bravura, brilliance, caliber, capability, capableness, capacity, cleverness, command, competency, condition, constituted authority, control, coordination, craft, craftsmanship, cunning, deftness, delegated authority, dexterity, dexterousness, dextrousness, diplomacy, divine right, efficacy, efficiency, enough, exact measure, expertise, facility, faculty, finesse, fitness, fittedness, flair, genius, grace, grip, handiness, horsemanship, indirect authority, ingeniousness, ingenuity, inherent authority, jus divinum, just enough, know-how, lawful authority, legal authority, legitimacy, marksmanship, mastership, mastery, maturity, might, minimum, power, practical ability, preparedness, prerogative, proficiency, prowess, qualification, quickness, readiness, regality, resource, resourcefulness, right, right amount, rightful authority, ripeness, royal prerogative, satisfaction, satisfactoriness, satisfactory amount, savoir-faire, savvy, seamanship, seasoning, skill, skillfulness, style, sufficiency, sufficient, sufficientness, suitability, suitableness, suitedness, susceptibility, tact, tactfulness, talent, technical brilliance, technical mastery, technical skill, technique, tempering, the goods, the say, the say-so, the stuff, timing, trim, vested authority, vicarious authority, virtuosity, what it takes, wit, wizardry, workmanship
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