AskDefine | Define incompetent

Dictionary Definition

incompetent adj
1 not qualified or suited for a purpose; "an incompetent secret service"; "the filming was hopeless incompetent" [ant: competent]
2 showing lack of skill or aptitude; "a bungling workman"; "did a clumsy job"; "his fumbling attempt to put up a shelf" [syn: bungling, clumsy, fumbling]
3 not doing a good job; "incompetent at chess" [syn: unskilled]
4 not meeting requirements; "unequal to the demands put upon him" [syn: incapable, unequal to(p)] n : someone who is not competent to take effective action [syn: incompetent person]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Unskilled, lacking normally expected degree of ability.
    Having an incompetent lawyer may be grounds for a retrial, but the lawyer in question probably doesn't know that.
  2. Unable to make rational decisions, insane or otherwise cognitively impaired.
    The charged was judged incompetent to stand trial, at least until his medication started working.


unskilled, lacking normally expected degree of ability
unable to make rational decisions, insane or otherwise cognitively impaired

Usage notes

The form incompetent of, as in "I am incompetent of doing anything!" is heard (US). It is incorrect, the intended word is incapable.


  1. A person who is incompetent.

Extensive Definition

Incompetent may be

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

awkward, base, blank cartridge, bungling, castrato, clumsy, defective, deficient, disqualified, dud, dull tool, eunuch, failing, found wanting, gauche, gelding, greenhorn, ill-equipped, ill-fitted, ill-furnished, ill-provided, ill-qualified, imperfect, impotent, inadequate, incapable, incapable of, incomplete, ineffective, ineffectual, inefficient, ineligible, inept, inexpert, inferior, insufficient, invalid, lacking, little, maladjusted, maladroit, mean, mediocre, mediocrity, no conjuror, not comparable, not enough, not equal to, not in it, not up to, out of it, petty, shabby, small, too little, trivial, unable, unable to, unadapted, unadjusted, unarmed, unendowed, unequal to, unequipped, unfit, unfitted, ungifted, unprovided, unqualified, unsatisfactory, unsatisfying, unskilled, unskillful, unsufficing, unsuited, untalented, unworkmanlike, useless, wanting, weakling
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