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in·com·pe·tent / inˈkämpətənt; ing-/ • adj. not having or showing the necessary skills to do something successfully: a forgetful and utterly incompetent assistant. ∎  Law not qualified to act in a particular capacity: the patient is deemed legally incompetent. ∎  Med. (esp. of a valve or sphincter) not able to perform its function. • n. an incompetent person. DERIVATIVES: in·com·pe·tence n. in·com·pe·ten·cy n. in·com·pe·tent·ly adv.

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incompetent A relative rheological (see RHEOLOGY) term, referring to the ease with which a rock or layer of rock may be deformed. It is applied to materials which are less rigid than competent materials (see COMPETENCE) and tend to flow rather than fracture when deformed. Incompetence reflects the inability of a material to transmit compressive stresses over large distances.