May 01, 2016
- competence (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : a supply (as of money or property) that is enough to provide for the necessities of life2 : the quality or state of being capable
- How do you use it?
- In the short story we read, the soldier's competence was called into question after he neglected to report for duty.
- Are you a word wiz?
"Competence" traces to the Latin "competere." What do you think the Latin root means?The Latin "competere" means "to come together," and it is a combination of the Latin prefix "com-" and the verb "petere," which means "to go to." It should be no surprise that the adjective "competent," meaning "capable," also comes from "competere." But would you have guessed that "compete" (meaning "to strive for something for which another is also striving") and "competition" (meaning "a contest between rivals") also descend from "competere"? Look closely and you'll see they all begin with the letters "compet," just as their ancestor "competere" does.