[ dok-ter ]
See synonyms for: doctordoctoreddoctoring on

  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.

  1. Older Slang. a cook, as at a camp or on a ship.

  2. Machinery. any of various minor mechanical devices, especially one designed to remedy an undesirable characteristic of an automatic process.

  3. Angling. any of several artificial flies, especially the silver doctor.

  4. 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.

  1. to restore to original or working condition; repair; mend: She was able to doctor the chipped vase with a little plastic cement.

  2. to tamper with; falsify: He doctored the birthdate on his passport.

  3. to add a foreign substance to; adulterate: Someone had doctored the drink.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  1. Metallurgy. (of an article being electroplated) to receive plating unevenly.

Origin of doctor

1275–1325; Middle English docto(u)r (<Anglo-French ) <Latin, equivalent to doc(ēre) to teach + -tor-tor

Other words from doctor

  • doc·tor·al, doc·to·ri·al [dok-tawr-ee-uhl, -tohr-], /dɒkˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-/, 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

Words that may be confused with doctor Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use doctor in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for doctor


/ (ˈdɒktə) /

  1. a person licensed to practise medicine

  2. a person who has been awarded a higher academic degree in any field of knowledge

  1. mainly US and Canadian a person licensed to practise dentistry or veterinary medicine

  2. Also called: Doctor 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

  3. angling any of various gaudy artificial flies

  4. informal a person who mends or repairs things

  5. slang a cook on a ship or at a camp

  6. archaic a man, esp a teacher, of learning

  7. 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

  8. (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

  9. a cool sea breeze blowing in some countries: the Cape doctor

  10. go for the doctor Australian slang to make a great effort or move very fast, esp in a horse race

  11. what the doctor ordered something needed or desired

  1. (tr)

    • to give medical treatment to

    • to prescribe for (a disease or disorder)

  2. (intr) informal to practise medicine: he doctored in Easter Island for six years

  1. (tr) to repair or mend, esp in a makeshift manner

  2. (tr) to make different in order to deceive, tamper with, falsify, or adulterate

  3. (tr) to adapt for a desired end, effect, etc

  4. (tr) to castrate (a cat, dog, etc)

Origin of doctor

C14: from Latin: teacher, from docēre to teach

Derived forms of doctor

  • doctoral or doctorial (dɒkˈtɔːrɪəl), adjective

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with doctor


see just what the doctor ordered.

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