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dogma

[dawg-muh, dog-]
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noun, plural dog·mas or (Rare) dog·ma·ta [dawg-muh-tuh] /ˈdɔg mə tə/.
  1. an official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behavior, etc., as of a church.
  2. a specific tenet or doctrine authoritatively laid down, as by a church: the dogma of the Assumption; the recently defined dogma of papal infallibility.
  3. prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group: the difficulty of resisting political dogma.
  4. a settled or established opinion, belief, or principle: the classic dogma of objectivity in scientific observation.

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.

Popular references


Dogma: A film written and directed by Kevin Smith, released in 1999.
—Dogma 95: A movement in cinema started by Danish director Lars von Trier in 1995, which established filmmaking constraints such as no use of special effects.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
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)

Examples from the Web for dogmata

Historical Examples

  • Your friend has the remedy in his own hands; let him "purify his dogmata."

    The Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman Empire

    T. R. Glover

  • Ambrose, bishop of Milan, was then eminent for his skill in the dogmata of the Catholics.

  • His "Dogmata theologica" is incomplete, not having been carried beyond the fifth volume.

    The Jesuits, 1534-1921

    Thomas J. Campbell

  • I divide all apodeictic propositions, whether demonstrable or immediately certain, into dogmata and mathemata.

  • Quam quia Ecclesi Roman dogmata summa constantia defendimus.


British Dictionary definitions for dogmata

dogma

noun plural -mas or -mata (-mətə)
  1. a religious doctrine or system of doctrines proclaimed by ecclesiastical authority as true
  2. a belief, principle, or doctrine or a code of beliefs, principles, or doctrinesMarxist 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

Word Origin and History for dogmata

dogma

n.

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

dogmata in Culture

dogma

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.