noun doc·trine \ ˈdäk-trən \
|Updated on: 18 Jul 2018

Definition of doctrine

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

Examples of doctrine in a Sentence

  1. The government was founded on a doctrine of equality for all people.

  2. Many psychologists now question the doctrines of Sigmund Freud.

  3. teaching religious doctrine to young people

Recent Examples of doctrine from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of doctrine

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

doctrine Synonyms

DOCTRINE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of doctrine for English Language Learners

  • : a set of ideas or beliefs that are taught or believed to be true

  • : a statement of government policy especially in international relations

DOCTRINE Defined for Kids


noun doc·trine \ ˈdäk-trən \

Definition of doctrine for Students

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

Law Dictionary


noun doc·trine \ ˈdäk-trən \

legal Definition of doctrine

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


play \-trə-nəl\ adjective

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one who attends or assists a leader

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