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

Scaraffia, a history professor and journalist, was perhaps the most high-profile woman at the Vatican, an avowed feminist who nevertheless toed the line on official doctrine. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Founder, all-female board of Vatican women’s magazine quit," 26 Mar. 2019 The new wave of cases relies on the nuisance doctrine at the state level, working from the theory that state common law has not been similarly displaced. New York Times, "Climate Lawsuits, Once Limited to the Coasts, Jump Inland," 18 Apr. 2018 The Chicago ordinance is based on the legal doctrine of home rule authority to address the issue locally in lieu of an amendment to the Condominium Property Act on a statewide level. Howard Dakoff, chicagotribune.com, "In win for condo owners worried about privacy, City Council adopts ordinance shielding personal info," 31 Mar. 2018 The government’s position (argued before the Court last fall by Michael Dreeben, a Deputy Solicitor General, who is currently assisting the Mueller investigation) relies on what is known as the third-party doctrine. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, "Why Do We Care So Much About Privacy?," 22 Sep. 2014 The issue of preserving Supreme Court precedents, a doctrine known as stare decisis, is certain to play a prominent role in the confirmation process. David G. Savage, latimes.com, "Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a potential Supreme Court nominee, has defended overturning precedents," 3 July 2018 Nixon’s gut instinct set into motion a foreign-policy doctrine that has survived ever since. Brian Bennett, Time, "President Trump's Knack for Winging It Caught Up With Him This Week," 27 Apr. 2018 No ancient thinkers had propounded such a doctrine. Samuel Moyn, The New Republic, "Hype for the Best," 19 Mar. 2018 In other words, the doctrine of assured destruction still holds. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Trump Administration Begins Production of New Nuclear Weapon," 1 Feb. 2019

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

23 May 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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