doc·​tor | \ ˈdäk-tər How to pronounce doctor (audio) \

Definition of doctor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a 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
2a : 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
3a : 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


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

Definition of doctor (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to give medical treatment to doctored her ailing husband
b : to restore to good condition : repair doctor an old clock
2a : 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from doctor


doctoral \ ˈdäk-​t(ə-​)rəl How to pronounce doctoral (audio) \ adjective
doctorless \ ˈdäk-​tər-​ləs How to pronounce doctorless (audio) \ adjective
doctorship \ ˈdäk-​tər-​ˌship How to pronounce doctorship (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for doctor

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 There are a total of 244 kids in kindergarten through eighth grades who are the children of doctors, nurses and city employees who’ve been activated as disaster workers. Heather Knight,, "Shaming the shamers: why San Franciscans need to stop finger-pointing," 12 May 2020 To understand the sacrifices of doctors, nurses and other professionals caring for Covid-19 patients, The Times invited them to share their stories in their own words. Emily Palmer, New York Times, "Voices From the Pandemic’s Front Lines," 11 May 2020 Bragg knew that nurses and doctors had to make quick decisions at the curbside about who most needed hospital care and who could go home. Kristen Jordan Shamus,, "COVID-19 nearly killed them both: A Michigan couple's journey to hell and back," 10 May 2020 And then there is another group, the mothers who spend their days on the front lines, as doctors, nurses, security personnel, first responders, whose spouses and children worry about them in an even deeper way than the rest of us. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Mitch Albom: Women on coronavirus front lines mark unusual Mother's Day," 10 May 2020 Lee also captured the city on pause, with people walking while wearing masks and nurses and doctors in scrubs outside city hospitals. Marianne Garvey, CNN, "Spike Lee made an emotional 3-minute film dedicated to New York City," 8 May 2020 So did a similar number of people who had been working in the offices of doctors, dentists, and other health practitioners. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "The Most Alarming Thing About the Worst Jobs Report in History," 8 May 2020 What better way to say thank you to doctors, nurses, caregivers, and first-line responders than with a handwritten card? Jasmin Perez, Sunset Magazine, "Seattle Is Closing 20 Miles of Streets to Cars, Virtual Fun Run + More Good Things This Week," 8 May 2020 Nurses, doctors, and healthcare professionals should be celebrated 24/7, 365. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Nike, Dunkin Donuts, and Others Offering Healthcare Worker Discounts to Celebrate National Nurses Week," 6 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Without the usual crutches of lab tests and diagnostic imaging, telemedicine is doctoring reduced to essentials. Dan Chiasson, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal," 29 Apr. 2020 Multiple celebrities have shared posts claiming that 5G causes serious illness, circulating false reports and doctored video in the process. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, "Fact check: 5G technology is not linked to coronavirus," 24 Apr. 2020 From the editor: Posts circulating on Facebook claim the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel doctored an image taken at a rally in Brookfield on Saturday, April 18, and added a Confederate flag. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "No, a Journal Sentinel image of Confederate flag at Brookfield rally was not doctored, as false accusations on Facebook claim," 19 Apr. 2020 This includes in-home services such as the CHOICE program, which provides transportation to doctor appointments and grocery grocery. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana black caucus wants governor to address high coronavirus rate among African Americans," 14 Apr. 2020 Meanwhile, everyday tasks including grocery shopping, going to doctor appointments, and maintaining a work routine are no longer easy — especially with (very important) social distancing rules put in place. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, "New York City Has Been Hit Particularly Hard by Coronavirus — Here’s How to Help the City We All Love," 8 Apr. 2020 Industrially produced frozen versions, tricks like doctoring parboiled rice with coloring additives in place of saffron, and nontraditional ingredients like lobster and chorizo are a common, dispiriting sight. Jeff Koehler, Saveur, "9 Ways to Make the Best Paella Ever," 20 July 2017 Because symptoms of Covid-19 are like those of the flu, the tests are given only to people who doctors or public-health officials believe may have the disease. WSJ, "You Have Coronavirus Questions, We Have Answers," 13 Mar. 2020 In light of the Astros’ mess, the milder forms of cheating — such as pitchers doctoring the ball — sound pretty tame. Bruce Jenkins,, "There’s nothing good about the A’s radio news," 21 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'doctor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of doctor


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


1712, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for doctor

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about doctor

Time Traveler for doctor

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for doctor

Last Updated

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Doctor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for doctor


How to pronounce doctor (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of doctor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who is skilled in the science of medicine : a person who is trained and licensed to treat sick and injured people
: the place where a doctor works
: a dentist



English Language Learners Definition of doctor (Entry 2 of 2)

: to change (something) especially in order to trick or deceive people
: to add something (such as alcohol or drugs) to (a food or drink)
: to give medical treatment to (an injury, a person, etc.)


doc·​tor | \ ˈdäk-tər How to pronounce doctor (audio) \

Kids Definition of doctor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person (as a physician or veterinarian) skilled and specializing in the art of healing


doctored; doctoring

Kids Definition of doctor (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to use remedies on or for doctor a wound
2 : to practice medicine


doc·​tor | \ ˈdäk-tər How to pronounce doctor (audio) \

Medical Definition of doctor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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
2 : 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


doctored; doctoring\ -​t(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce doctoring (audio) \

Medical Definition of doctor (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to practice medicine

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on doctor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for doctor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with doctor

Spanish Central: Translation of doctor

Nglish: Translation of doctor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of doctor for Arabic Speakers

Comments on doctor

What made you want to look up doctor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!