Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A principle or body of principles presented for acceptance or belief, as by a religious, political, scientific, or philosophic group; dogma.
  • noun A rule or principle of law, especially when established by precedent.
  • noun A statement of official government policy, especially in foreign affairs and military strategy.
  • noun Archaic Something taught; a teaching.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In general, whatever is taught; whatever is laid down as true by an instructor or master; hence, a principle or body of principles relating to or connected with religion, science, politics, or any department of knowledge; anything held as true; a tenet or set of tenets: as, the doctrines of the gospel; the doctrines of Plato; the doctrine of evolution.
  • noun The act of teaching; instruction; course of discipline; specifically, instruction and confirmation in the principles of religion.
  • noun Synonyms Precept, Doctrine, Dogma, Tenet. Precept is a rule of conduct, generally of some exactness, laid down by some competent or authoritative person, and to be obeyed; it differs from the others in not being especially a matter of belief. (See principle.) Doctrine is the only other of these words referring to conduct, and in that meaning it is biblical and obsolescent. In the Bible it refers equally to teaching as to the abstract truths and as to the duties of religion: “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mat. xv. 9.) As distinguished from dogma. and tenet, doctrine is a thing taught by an individual, a school, a sect, etc., while a dogma is a specific doctrine formulated as the position of some school, sect, etc., and pressed for acceptance as important or essential. Dogma is falling into disrepute as the word for an opinion which one is expected to accept on pure authority and without investigation. Tenet is a belief viewed as held, a doctrinal position taken and defended. It is equally applicable to the beliefs of an individual and of a number; it has no unfavorable sense.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Teaching; instruction.
  • noun That which is taught; what is held, put forth as true, and supported by a teacher, a school, or a sect; a principle or position, or the body of principles, in any branch of knowledge; any tenet or dogma; a principle of faith
  • noun (Politics) a policy enunciated by President Monroe (Message, Dec. 2, 1823), the essential feature of which is that the United States will regard as an unfriendly act any attempt on the part of European powers to extend their systems on this continent, or any interference to oppress, or in any manner control the destiny of, governments whose independence had been acknowledged by the United States.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A belief or tenet, especially about philosophical or theological matters.
  • noun The body of teachings of a religion, or a religious leader, organization, group or text.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin doctrīna, from doctor, teacher; see doctor.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin doctrina ("teaching, instruction, learning, knowledge"), from doctor ("a teacher"), from docere ("to teach"); see doctor.

Examples

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