View synonyms for doctor


[ dok-ter ]


  1. a person licensed to practice medicine, as a physician, surgeon, dentist, or veterinarian.
  2. a person who has been awarded a doctor's degree:

    He is a Doctor of Philosophy.

  3. Older Slang. a cook, as at a camp or on a ship.
  4. Machinery. any of various minor mechanical devices, especially one designed to remedy an undesirable characteristic of an automatic process.
  5. Angling. any of several artificial flies, especially the silver doctor.
  6. an eminent scholar and teacher.

verb (used with object)

  1. to give medical treatment to; act as a physician to:

    He feels he can doctor himself for just a common cold.

  2. to treat (an ailment); apply remedies to:

    He doctored his cold at home.

  3. to restore to original or working condition; repair; mend:

    She was able to doctor the chipped vase with a little plastic cement.

  4. to tamper with; falsify:

    He doctored the birthdate on his passport.

  5. to add a foreign substance to; adulterate:

    Someone had doctored the drink.

  6. to revise, alter, or adapt (a photograph, manuscript, etc.) in order to serve a specific purpose or to improve the material:

    to doctor a play.

  7. to award a doctorate to:

    He did his undergraduate work in the U.S. and was doctored at Oxford.

verb (used without object)

  1. to practice medicine.
  2. Older Use. to take medicine; receive medical treatment.
  3. Metallurgy. (of an article being electroplated) to receive plating unevenly.


/ ˈdɒktə; dɒkˈtɔːrɪəl /


  1. a person licensed to practise medicine
  2. a person who has been awarded a higher academic degree in any field of knowledge
  3. a person licensed to practise dentistry or veterinary medicine
  4. Also calledDoctor of the Church often capital a title given to any of several of the leading Fathers or theologians in the history of the Christian Church down to the late Middle Ages whose teachings have greatly influenced orthodox Christian thought
  5. angling any of various gaudy artificial flies
  6. informal.
    a person who mends or repairs things
  7. slang.
    a cook on a ship or at a camp
  8. archaic.
    a man, esp a teacher, of learning
  9. a device used for local repair of electroplated surfaces, consisting of an anode of the plating material embedded in an absorbent material containing the solution
  10. (in a paper-making machine) a blade that is set to scrape the roller in order to regulate the thickness of pulp or ink on it
  11. a cool sea breeze blowing in some countries

    the Cape doctor

  12. go for the doctor slang.
    to make a great effort or move very fast, esp in a horse race
  13. what the doctor ordered
    something needed or desired
“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


  1. tr
    1. to give medical treatment to
    2. to prescribe for (a disease or disorder)
  2. informal.
    intr to practise medicine

    he doctored in Easter Island for six years

  3. tr to repair or mend, esp in a makeshift manner
  4. tr to make different in order to deceive, tamper with, falsify, or adulterate
  5. tr to adapt for a desired end, effect, etc
  6. tr to castrate (a cat, dog, etc)
“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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Derived Forms

  • ˈdoctoral, adjective
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Other Words From

  • doctor·al doc·to·ri·al [dok-, tawr, -ee-, uh, l, -, tohr, -], adjective
  • doctor·al·ly doc·tori·al·ly adverb
  • doctor·less adjective
  • doctor·ship noun
  • sub·doctor noun
  • super·doctor noun
  • under·doctor noun
  • un·doctored adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of doctor1

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English docto(u)r, from Anglo-French, from Latin, from doc(ēre) “to teach” + -tor -tor
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Word History and Origins

Origin of doctor1

C14: from Latin: teacher, from docēre to teach
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Idioms and Phrases

see just what the doctor ordered .
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Example Sentences

Instead, the doctor informed her that he had also removed one of her fallopian tubes and that she could expect to have difficulty conceiving if she wanted to have more children.

From Vox

Sridhar wasn’t at all surprised that Israel just imposed a new lockdown, or that Madrid — where doctors are calling the situation “March in slow motion” — is also resorting to lockdown measures.

From Vox

A very popular example is that it’s virtually impossible to rank a website providing medical advice without an actual doctor writing the articles.

In other words, the original suggestion that people not wear masks derived at least to some extent from the inability of the government to provide sufficient protective equipment to doctors and nurses.

She says that her dream of becoming a doctor and helping people wasn’t possible at the time, but now she feels like a doctor and is so proud to be part of helping people.

From Fortune

My doctor insisted that once I filed this piece I lie down on my bed and not get out.

That is a fact recorded by the doctor in charge of the ambulance at the inquest.

After what seemed a desperate eternity, a doctor shook his head.

Not long after I was finally diagnosed, my doctor ordered a bone density scan.

My doctor put me on oral contraceptives to induce a period, figuring it would help build bone.

How little did he divine that the letter of the doctor was called forth by a communication from the countess-dowager.

He is what the bill wishes to make for us, a regular root doctor, and will suit the place exactly.

You may imagine the effect this missive produced upon the proud, high-minded doctor of divinity.

He became a doctor in two hours, and it only cost him twenty dollars to complete his education.

Though, as everybody well knew, the doctor had forbidden her to lift so much as a pin!


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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