doctrine

noun
doc·​trine | \ ˈdäk-trən How to pronounce doctrine (audio) \

Definition of doctrine

1a : a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief : dogma Catholic doctrine
b : a statement of fundamental government policy especially in international relations the Truman Doctrine
c law : a principle of law established through past decisions
d : a military principle or set of strategies
e : something that is taught
2 archaic : teaching, instruction

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Synonyms for doctrine

Synonyms

canon, dogma

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Did You Know?

The original doctrines were those of the Catholic Church, especially as taught by the so-called doctors (religious scholars) of the Church. But today a doctrine can come from many other sources. Old and established legal principles are called legal doctrine. Traditional psychiatrists still follow the doctrines of Sigmund Freud. Communist doctrine in the 1920s and ʼ30s was often the teachings of Lenin, which were then regarded in the Soviet Union as almost sacred. U.S. presidents have given their names to doctrines as well: In 1823 the Monroe Doctrine stated that the United States would oppose European influence in the Americas, and in 1947 the Truman Doctrine held that America would support free countries against enemies outside and inside.

Examples of doctrine in a Sentence

The government was founded on a doctrine of equality for all people. Many psychologists now question the doctrines of Sigmund Freud. teaching religious doctrine to young people
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Recent Examples on the Web

But Joan of Arc eventually became a martyr when she was killed on charges of witchcraft and heresy, which means having beliefs that are contrary to those of Christian doctrine. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "10 Signs Miley Cyrus's "Mother's Daughter" Is the Ultimate Feminist Anthem," 2 July 2019 But long before the synapse was visible, Cajal’s neuron doctrine had transformed scientists’ understanding of the nervous system and formed the bedrock upon which neuroscience is built. Quanta Magazine, "Why the First Drawings of Neurons Were Defaced," 28 Sep. 2017 This series is open to all beliefs and doctrines, proving that being spiritual is within us all. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, "Yvie Oddly, Nina West, more Drag Race stars getting new reality shows," 27 June 2019 Mother Ann Lee experienced four miscarriages, which likely informed her celibacy doctrine. Diana Budds, Curbed, "One of America’s most popular furniture styles was invented by a celibate religious sect," 21 June 2019 Breyer warned that the ruling in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt was a departure from stare decisis, a legal doctrine in which courts are to abide by precedents unless there's a compelling reason to overrule them. USA Today, "COPY, PASTE, LEGISLATE Progressives borrow strategy from anti-abortion groups: Use copycat legislation," 20 June 2019 The doctrine of partus sequitur ventrum held that a child’s status would follow their mother’s. Karin Wulf, Smithsonian, "This Long-Ignored Document, Written by George Washington, Lays Bare the Legal Power of Geneaology," 18 June 2019 But long before that, some critics have questioned the separate sovereigns doctrine. al.com, "Supreme Court rules in Alabama double jeopardy case with possible Manafort ramifications," 17 June 2019 Church doctrine requires an all-male priesthood, on the grounds that Jesus’ apostles were male. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Pressure building on Vatican to give women vote at synod," 15 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'doctrine.' 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 doctrine

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for doctrine

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin doctrina, from doctor

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Statistics for doctrine

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for doctrine

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

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More Definitions for doctrine

doctrine

noun

English Language Learners Definition of doctrine

: a set of ideas or beliefs that are taught or believed to be true
US : a statement of government policy especially in international relations

doctrine

noun
doc·​trine | \ ˈdäk-trən How to pronounce doctrine (audio) \

Kids Definition of doctrine

: something (as a rule or principle) that is taught, believed in, or considered to be true

doctrine

noun
doc·​trine | \ ˈdäk-trən How to pronounce doctrine (audio) \

Legal Definition of doctrine

: a principle established through judicial decisions — compare law, precedent

Other Words from doctrine

doctrinal \ -​trə-​nəl How to pronounce doctrinal (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on doctrine

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