phy·​si·​cian | \fə-ˈzi-shən \

Definition of physician 

1 : a person skilled in the art of healing specifically : one educated, clinically experienced, and licensed to practice medicine as usually distinguished from surgery

2 : one exerting a remedial or salutary influence

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Synonyms & Antonyms for physician


croaker [slang], doc, doctor, medic, medico, sawbones [slang]


nondoctor, nonphysician

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Examples of physician in a Sentence

you should always consult a physician if you develop a high fever

Recent Examples on the Web

The time period covered Jackson’s tenure as a White House physician dating to 2006 and involved his current and former colleagues who served in both Republican and Democratic administrations. Hope Yen, The Seattle Times, "Fact-checking President Trump on migrants, Saudis, Hispanic vote," 22 Oct. 2018 Grinberg had survived the Kovno ghetto and the forced labor camps around Dachau partly because his captors allowed him to act as a physician. Emanuella Grinberg, Smithsonian, "When a Bavarian Monastery Provided a Home to Jewish Refugees," 11 July 2018 Stiegler has 35 years' experience as an emergency room physician. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "How OnStar prepares to save your life," 3 July 2018 As the physician who quickly became the coordinator of the World Health Organization’s efforts to roll out an experimental anti-Ebola inoculation in the DRC, he was needed on the ground. Dina Fine Maron, Scientific American, "How Ebola Vaccines Have Helped to Usher In a New Era in the Outbreak Response," 23 June 2018 These words, allegedly, imputed a lack of ability or integrity on the part of Amann to satisfactorily perform his duties as a physician. Michael Mccann,, "What Were the Key Factors Behind CM Punk Winning His Defamation Trial?," 5 June 2018 In early May, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Jackson was no longer serving as the president's physician but remained on the White House medical staff. The Washington Post,, "Pentagon inspector general launches inquiry of former VA nominee Ronny Jackson," 4 June 2018 Finck, now surgeon-in-chief at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, had just begun working in Philadelphia as an attending physician when the call came in, reported Fox 61. Scott Berson, charlotteobserver, "Surgeon saved baby girl born with intestines outside her body - and then adopted her | Charlotte Observer," 25 May 2018 The president’s nomination of Ronny Jackson to replace Shulkin collapsed last month amid allegations of Jackson’s improper behavior as White House physician, leaving a leadership void in the government’s second-largest agency. Bill Lambrecht, Houston Chronicle, "Veterans Affairs chief’s firing hurt vets’ medical effort," 13 May 2018

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for physician

Middle English phisicien, fisicien, from Anglo-French, from phisique medicine

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Statistics for physician

Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for physician

The first known use of physician was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for physician



English Language Learners Definition of physician

: a medical doctor; especially : a medical doctor who is not a surgeon


phy·​si·​cian | \fə-ˈzi-shən \

Kids Definition of physician

: a specialist in healing human disease : a doctor of medicine


phy·​si·​cian | \fə-ˈzish-ən \

Medical Definition of physician 

: a skilled health-care professional trained and licensed to practice medicine specifically : a doctor of medicine or osteopathy

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Comments on physician

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


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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