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[dawg-muh, dog-] /ˈdɔg mə, ˈdɒg-/
noun, plural dogmas or (Rare) dogmata
[dawg-muh-tuh] /ˈdɔg mə tə/ (Show IPA)
an official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behavior, etc., as of a church.
a specific tenet or doctrine authoritatively laid down, as by a church: the dogma of the Assumption;
the recently defined dogma of papal infallibility.
Synonyms: tenet, canon, law.
prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group:
the difficulty of resisting political dogma.
a settled or established opinion, belief, or principle:
the classic dogma of objectivity in scientific observation.
Synonyms: conviction, certainty.
Origin of dogma
1590-1600; < Latin < Greek, equivalent to dok(eîn) to seem, think, seem good + -ma noun suffix
Word story
At the turn of the 17th century, dogma entered English from the Latin term meaning “philosophical tenet.” The Greek word from which it is borrowed means “that which one thinks is true,” and comes ultimately from the Greek dokeîn, which means “to seem good” or “think.”
The origin of the word dogma acts as a reminder to English speakers that now established principles and doctrines were once simply thoughts and opinions of ordinary people that gained popularity and eventually found their way into the universal consciousness of society. Twentieth-century American academic and aphorist Mason Cooley concisely observed that “Under attack, sentiments harden into dogma,” suggesting that dogma is spawned as a defensive act. This idea implies that for every dogma that exists, there is a counter dogma. With so many “truths” out there, there is sure to be a dogma to conveniently fit every set of beliefs.
Related Quotations
“Let it be understood once for all that Catholic dogma does not fix a limit to the operations of reason in dealing with divine truth.“
—A. N. Littlejohn, “Catholic Dogma: Its Nature and Obligations“ Catholic Dogma (1892)
“Since the time of Moses Mendelssohn (1728–1786), the chief Jewish dogma has been that Judaism has no dogmas.“
—Israel Abrahams, Judaism (1907)
“To me there was no question so important as the emancipation of women from the dogmas of the past, political, religious, and social.“
—Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eighty years and more: Reminiscences 1815-1897 (1898)
“Don't be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice.“
—Steve Jobs, “Commencement Address at Stanford University“ American Rhetoric (delivered June 12, 2005) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for dogma


noun (pl) -mas, -mata (-mətə)
a religious doctrine or system of doctrines proclaimed by ecclesiastical authority as true
a belief, principle, or doctrine or a code of beliefs, principles, or doctrines: Marxist dogma
Word Origin
C17: via Latin from Greek: opinion, belief, from dokein to seem good
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dogma

c.1600 (in plural dogmata), from Latin dogma "philosophical tenet," from Greek dogma (genitive dogmatos) "opinion, tenet," literally "that which one thinks is true," from dokein "to seem good, think" (see decent). Treated in 17c.-18c. as a Greek word in English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dogma in Culture

dogma definition

A teaching or set of teachings laid down by a religious group, usually as part of the essential beliefs of the group.

Note: The term dogma is often applied to statements put forward by someone who thinks, inappropriately, that they should be accepted without proof.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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