late 14c., "suitable, answering all requirements, sufficient, adequate," from Old French competent "sufficient, appropriate, suitable," and directly from Latin competentem (nominative competens), present participle of competere "coincide, agree" (see compete). It preserves the classical Latin sense of the verb, whereas the meaning in compete is a post-classical evolution. Meaning "able, fit, having ability or capacity" is from 1640s. Legal sense "having legal capacity or qualification" is late 15c. Related: Competently.
Also petə-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to rush, to fly."
It forms all or part of: accipiter; appetence; appetite; apterous; apteryx; archaeopteryx; asymptote; centripetal; Coleoptera; compete; competent; eurypterid; feather; helicopter; hippopotamus; Hymenoptera; impetigo; impetuous; impetus; iopterous; Lepidoptera; ornithopter; panache; panne; pen (n.1) "writing implement;" pennon; peripeteia; perpetual; perpetuity; petition; petulance; petulant; pin; pinion; pinnacle; pinnate; pinniped; potamo-; potamology; propitiation; propitious; ptero-; pterodactyl; ptomaine; ptosis; repeat; symptom.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit pattram "wing, feather, leaf," patara- "flying, fleeting;" Hittite pittar "wing;" Greek piptein "to fall," potamos "river, rushing water," pteron, pteryx "feather, wing," ptilon "soft feathers, down, plume;" Latin petere "to attack, assail; seek, strive after; ask for, beg; demand, require," penna "feather, wing;" Old Norse fjöðr, Old English feðer "feather;" Old Church Slavonic pero "feather;" Old Welsh eterin "bird."
"having knowledge;" in law, "competent to take legal or judicial notice," 1744, back-formation from cognizance.
1580s, "fitted by accomplishments or endowments;" 1590s, "affected by some degree of restriction or modification;" past-participle adjective from qualify (v.). By 1886 and into mid-20c. as a British English euphemism for bloody or damned.
To be competent is to have the natural abilities or the general training necessary for any given work ; to be qualified is to have, in addition to competency, a special training, enabling one to begin the work effectively and at once. He who is competent may or may not require time to becomequalified; he who is not competent cannot become qualified, for it is not in him. [Century Dictionary]
"act by which a competent authority gives sanction and validity to something done by another," mid-15c., ratificacion, from Old French ratification (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin ratificationem (nominative ratificatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of ratificare "to confirm, approve" (see ratify).
1670s, "act of regulating; state of being reduced to order," noun of action from regulate. Meaning "a rule for management prescribed by a superior or competent authority" is from 1715. As an adjective, "having a fixed pattern; in accord with a rule or standard," by 1836. Related: Regulations.
Latin word once used in various phrases in English, often in legal language, where it means "the condition of something, the matter in hand or point at issue;" literally "thing" (see re). For example res ipsa loquitur "the thing speaks for itself;" res judicata "a point decided by competent authority."
Doctor Kearney, who formerly, with so much reputation, delivered lectures in this place on the history of Rome, observed to me once, that he was not an optimist, but an "agathist"; that he believed that every thing tended to good, but did not think himself competent to determine what was absolutely the best. The distinction is important, and seems to be fatal to the system of Optimism. [George Miller, "Lectures on the Philosophy of Modern History," Dublin, 1816]