Skip to Content


Pronunciation: kom'pe-tents


  1. The quality of being competent or capable of performing an allotted function.
  2. In psychiatry, an antidote to certain types of anxiety.
  3. The normal tight closure of a cardiac valve.
  4. The ability of a group of embryonic cells to respond to an inducer.
  5. The ability of a (bacterial) cell to take up free DNA, which may lead to transformation.
  6. In psychiatry, the mental ability to distinguish right from wrong and to manage one's own affairs, or to assist one's counsel in a legal proceeding.
  7. The state of reactivity of a cell, tissue, or organism that allows it to respond to certain stimuli.

[Fr. competence, fr. L.L. competentia, congruity]

Disclaimer: This site is designed to offer information for general educational purposes only. The health information furnished on this site and the interactive responses are not intended to be professional advice and are not intended to replace personal consultation with a qualified physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. You must always seek the advice of a professional for questions related to a disease, disease symptoms, and appropriate therapeutic treatments.
© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.