Definition of doctrinaire
- … tended to stress uncritical, doctrinaire acceptance of the interpretations of law …
- —Ross E. Dunn
- … the doctrinaire evolutionary psychologists who choose ideology over knowledge.
- —Jerry A. Coyne
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These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'doctrinaire.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
a doctrinaire conservative, the columnist takes special delight in baiting liberals
Doctrinaire didn't start out as a critical word. In post-revolutionary France, a group who favored constitutional monarchy called themselves Doctrinaires. Doctrine in French, as in English, is a word for the principles on which a government is based; it is ultimately from Latin doctrina, meaning "teaching" or "instruction." But both ultraroyalists and revolutionists strongly derided any doctrine of reconciling royalty and representation as utterly impracticable, and they resented the Doctrinaires' influence over Louis XVIII. So when doctrinaire became an adjective, "there adhered to it some indescribable tincture of unpopularity which was totally indelible" (Blanc's History of Ten Years 1830-40, translated by Walter K. Kelly in 1848).
First Known Use: 1831See Words from the same year
—used to describe a person who has very strong beliefs about what should be done and will not change them or accept other people's opinions
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