doc·​tri·​naire | \ ˌdäk-trə-ˈner How to pronounce doctrinaire (audio) \

Definition of doctrinaire

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: stubbornly or excessively devoted to a doctrine or theory without regard to practical considerations … 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



Definition of doctrinaire (Entry 2 of 2)

: one who attempts to put into effect an abstract doctrine or theory with little or no regard for practical difficulties

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Other Words from doctrinaire


doctrinairism \ ˌdäk-​trə-​ˈner-​ˌi-​zəm How to pronounce doctrinairism (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for doctrinaire

Synonyms: Adjective

dogmatic (also dogmatical), opinionated, opinionative, opinioned, pontifical, self-opinionated

Antonyms: Adjective

latitudinarian, undoctrinaire, undogmatic

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Choose the Right Synonym for doctrinaire


dictatorial, magisterial, dogmatic, doctrinaire, oracular mean imposing one's will or opinions on others. dictatorial stresses autocratic, high-handed methods and a domineering manner. exercised dictatorial control over the office magisterial stresses assumption or use of prerogatives appropriate to a magistrate or schoolmaster in forcing acceptance of one's opinions. the magisterial tone of his pronouncements dogmatic implies being unduly and offensively positive in laying down principles and expressing opinions. dogmatic about what is art and what is not doctrinaire implies a disposition to follow abstract theories in framing laws or policies affecting people. a doctrinaire approach to improving the economy oracular implies the manner of one who delivers opinions in cryptic phrases or with pompous dogmatism. a designer who is the oracular voice of fashion

Did You Know?

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).

Examples of doctrinaire in a Sentence


a doctrinaire conservative, the columnist takes special delight in baiting liberals

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Conservatism, traditionally, has not been doctrinaire. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "May I See Your ID?," 22 July 2019 Many conservative critics long for Benedict's more doctrinaire papacy and question his decision to resign. Fox News, "Report: Benedict defends 'emeritus pope' title to critic," 21 Sep. 2018 But running as a doctrinaire progressive with heavy-handed appeals to minorities, the young and unmarried women is a perilous strategy at best. Karl Rove, WSJ, "A Grim Prognosis for Trump Derangement," 23 May 2018 This is all moot now that Kennedy is gone, sure to be replaced by a more doctrinaire supporter of capital punishment. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "America under Brett Kavanaugh," 11 July 2018 Krauthammer’s views weren’t always doctrinaire and sometimes cut across the political divide. Lukas I. Alpert, WSJ, "Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist Charles Krauthammer Dies at 68," 22 June 2018 The version of Islam practised here owes more to the moderate views of Nahdlatul Ulama, a mass Muslim organisation with roots in the countryside, than to the more doctrinaire teachings gaining ground elsewhere in Indonesia. The Economist, "A local election tests Indonesia’s ruling coalition," 22 Mar. 2018 The four day psyche-fest was a bonanza of seminars, from the doctrinaire to the esoteric, the practical to the political. Penelope Green, New York Times, "Still Talking After All These Years," 17 Feb. 2018 The less doctrinaire factions do still matter, however, as vehicles to support their leaders’ ambitions, argues Tobias Harris of Teneo Intelligence, a consultancy. The Economist, "The cabals Japan’s prime minister has tried to curb may curb him," 19 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of doctrinaire


1834, in the meaning defined above


1831, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for doctrinaire


French, from doctrine

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2 Aug 2019

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The first known use of doctrinaire was in 1831

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English Language Learners Definition of doctrinaire

formal + disapproving 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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Nglish: Translation of doctrinaire for Spanish Speakers

Comments on doctrinaire

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


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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