doctor

1 of 2

noun

doc·​tor ˈdäk-tər How to pronounce doctor (audio)
1
a
Christianity : an eminent theologian declared a sound expounder of doctrine by the Roman Catholic Church

called also doctor of the church

b
: a learned or authoritative teacher
c
: a person who has earned one of the highest academic degrees (such as a PhD) conferred by a university
Most of the college's faculty members are doctors in their fields.
The class is being taught by Doctor Menzer.
d
: a person awarded an honorary doctorate (such as an LLD or Litt D) by a college or university
2
a
: a person skilled or specializing in healing arts
especially : one (such as a physician, dentist, or veterinarian) who holds an advanced degree and is licensed to practice
See your doctor if the condition worsens.
an eye doctor
doctors' bills
3
a
: material added (as to food) to produce a desired effect
b
: a blade (as of metal) for spreading a coating or scraping a surface
4
: a person who restores, repairs, or fine-tunes things
doctoral adjective
doctorless adjective
doctorship noun

doctor

2 of 2

verb

doctored; doctoring ˈdäk-t(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce doctor (audio)

transitive verb

1
a
: to give medical treatment to
doctored her ailing husband
b
: to restore to good condition : repair
doctor an old clock
2
a
: to adapt or modify for a desired end by alteration or special treatment
doctored the play to suit the audience
The drink was doctored.
b
: to alter deceptively
accused of doctoring the election returns
The pitcher tried to cheat by doctoring the baseball.

intransitive verb

1
: to practice medicine
a career doctoring in the country
2
dialect : to take medicine

Examples of doctor in a Sentence

Noun He needed medicine but refused to go to a doctor. She was under doctor's orders not to return to work. I saw her at the doctor's last week. How long will you be at the doctor? Most of the faculty members at this college are doctors in their fields. Dr. Smith, can you explain the exam requirements again? Verb They were accused of doctoring the company's financial records. a doctored photo of the actress I think somebody doctored the punch. He had time to doctor his wounds. She doctored the sick child until the physician arrived. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Many doctors in the U.K. still don’t feel comfortable being open about their sexuality at work. Katherine Hignett, Forbes, 26 Feb. 2024 If you were exposed to measles, contact your doctor for guidance, which may include getting the MMR vaccine. Michelle Marchante, Miami Herald, 26 Feb. 2024 In director Yorgos Lanthimos and screenwriter Tony McNamara’s follow-up to The Favourite (2018), Emma Stone stars as a Frankenstein’s monster-esque Bella Baxter, with Dafoe as the fastidious doctor reviving her. Brendan Le, Peoplemag, 25 Feb. 2024 Fake Botox doctor is arrested for attempting to set up shop again weeks after his prison release. Andrew J. Campa, Los Angeles Times, 25 Feb. 2024 Epstein, according to the report, was accused by other doctors of pressuring them to change diagnoses and defer to his wishes over several years. Katie Shepherd, Washington Post, 24 Feb. 2024 Other doctors were arriving at the hospital, including Tetyana Andreieva. Claire Harbage, NPR, 24 Feb. 2024 Lots of recreation areas and a high ratio of doctors' offices to people make this place a haven for retirees. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 23 Feb. 2024 If anyone is experiencing symptoms of measles, stay at home and call your doctor, the health department said. Binghui Huang, The Indianapolis Star, 23 Feb. 2024
Verb
The service creates a paper trail visible to both the whistleblower and the business accused of misbehavior—but one that’s stored on third-party infrastructure to prevent it being doctored. Joel Khalili, WIRED, 26 Feb. 2024 And that her submitted invoices were often doctored, sometimes sloppily with White Out. Charles Rabin, Miami Herald, 9 Feb. 2024 Mom doctored us up with pineapple juice for scratchy throats and sinus infections. Rita Nader Heikenfeld, The Enquirer, 12 Jan. 2024 There also was evidence that the company produced videos of its trucks that were doctored to hide their flaws. Larry Neumeister, Fortune, 18 Dec. 2023 Smith continued, explaining that these allegations exposed how desperate the Truthers had become, further insinuating that other media clips—in which the president topples to the ground—were heavily doctored and likely the result of a foreign disinformation campaign. Elliot Ackerman, WIRED, 5 Feb. 2024 Inside the envelope were what prosecutors allege were doctored Connecticut license plates. Kc Baker, Peoplemag, 24 Jan. 2024 There’s also a nose-tingling honey mustard and a plum sauce doctored up with roasted apples. Jenn Harris, Los Angeles Times, 8 Jan. 2024 The campaign uses fake ads that show existing photos of extremely famous celebrities—Beyoncé, Oprah, Justin Bieber, Shakira, Cristiano Ronaldo—which have been doctored with fake quotes that back Russia and criticize Ukraine. Lauren Goode, WIRED, 14 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'doctor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Middle English doctour teacher, doctor, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin doctor, from Latin, teacher, from docēre to teach — more at docile

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1712, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of doctor was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near doctor

Cite this Entry

“Doctor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/doctor. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

doctor

1 of 2 noun
doc·​tor ˈdäk-tər How to pronounce doctor (audio)
1
: a person holding one of the highest degrees (as a PhD) given by a university
2
: a person (as a physician, dentist, or veterinarian) skilled and specializing in the art of healing
doctoral adjective

doctor

2 of 2 verb
doctored; doctoring -t(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce doctor (audio)
1
a
: to give medical treatment to
b
: to practice medicine
c
: to bring back to good condition : repair
doctor an old clock
2
: to tamper with
doctored the election returns
Etymology

Noun

Middle English doctour "doctor, teacher," from early French doctour and Latin doctor (both, same meaning), from earlier Latin doctor "teacher," from docēre "to teach" — related to docile, doctrine

Medical Definition

doctor

1 of 2 noun
doc·​tor ˈdäk-tər How to pronounce doctor (audio)
1
: a person skilled or specializing in healing arts
especially : one (as a physician, dentist, or veterinarian) who holds an advanced degree and is licensed to practice
2
a
: a person who has earned one of the highest academic degrees (as a PhD) conferred by a university
b
: a person awarded an honorary doctorate by a college or university

doctor

2 of 2 verb
doctored; doctoring -t(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce doctor (audio)

transitive verb

1
: to give medical treatment to
2
: castrate sense 1, spay
have your pet cat doctored

intransitive verb

: to practice medicine

More from Merriam-Webster on doctor

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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