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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Teaching; instruction.
  • n. 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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. 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.
  • n. The act of teaching; instruction; course of discipline; specifically, instruction and confirmation in the principles of religion.
  • n. 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

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


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.


  • -- This, sir, is doctrine that will stand, because it is _Bible doctrine_.

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  • I at present entirely reject the blastema doctrine in its original form, and in its place I put the _doctrine of the continuous development of tissues out of one another_.

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  • To remove our perplexity, Pascal gravely tells us, that _it is necessary to judge the doctrine by the miracles, and the miracles by the doctrine; that the doctrine proves the miracles, and the miracles the doctrine_.

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  • I still ask however how many ships will need to be sunk before a change in doctrine is forced through.

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  • The term doctrine is used to refer to a principle of law, in the common law traditions, established through a history of past decisions, such as the doctrine of self-defense, or the principle of fair use.

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  • "Perhaps this will lead to what I call the doctrine of mutually assured humiliation," Mr. Jarvis says.

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  • I think the Church could eventually come around on contraception, because the doctrine is an abstraction.

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  • Without explicitly stating so, the essay assumes this doctrine is agreed upon by all parties.

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  • An essential element to the doctrine is the employer's "continued willingness to employ" the employee ...

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  • As Oliver Kamm of London's Times notes, it was a follow-up to a speech 10 years ago, also in Chicago, in which Blair, as Kamm puts it, "rightly perceived that rogue states posed a threat to civilised values and regional stability" and, in Blair's own words, "set out what I described as a doctrine of international community that sought to justify intervention."

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