Definition of doctor in English:



  • 1A person who is qualified to treat people who are ill.

    [as title] ‘Doctor Thornhill’
    • ‘Second, there are medical malpractice claims against doctors and hospitals.’
    • ‘Contraception is normally supplied by your doctor or by the family planning clinic.’
    • ‘It had resulted in asthma being the most common chronic illness treated by doctors in general practice.’
    • ‘Any woman who is worried about this should speak to her doctor, midwife or obstetrician.’
    • ‘The amendment was designed to control the sale of illegitimate products invented by quack doctors.’
    • ‘To make a diagnosis of brain death, doctors conduct required medical tests.’
    • ‘Five ambulances, 15 medical personnel, two doctors and paramedics were on stand-by.’
    • ‘Ask your private doctor or hospital clinic physician for information as to how you can obtain a bone density test.’
    • ‘I recently injured my back playing hockey, and my doctor prescribed physical therapy.’
    • ‘You might feel more comfortable in a hospital or nursing home with doctors and nurses nearby at all times.’
    • ‘MAO inhibitors are commonly prescribed by medical doctors to treat depression.’
    • ‘You should talk to your child's doctor if your child experiences these side effects.’
    • ‘These patients are treated by primary care doctors in outpatient clinics.’
    • ‘Point out that depression is a medical condition that doctors can effectively treat.’
    • ‘Her family doctor prescribed a drug that helped, but it made her tired.’
    • ‘For the next two and a half days, the boy remained in the intensive care ward while doctors, nurses and medics helped him recover.’
    • ‘Psychiatrists are qualified doctors who have specialist training in treating mental health problems.’
    • ‘Although she went to several doctors and hospital emergency rooms, no one could explain what was happening.’
    • ‘Anaesthetists are medical doctors who specialise in the field of anaesthesia.’
    • ‘Most patients are seen and treated by primary care doctors, who may be unfamiliar with the condition.’
    physician, medical practitioner, medical man, medical woman, clinician, doctor of medicine, md
    doc, medic, medico, quack
    leech, sawbones
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    1. 1.1North American A qualified dentist or veterinary surgeon.
      • ‘And like S. Ravindran Nair, retired veterinary doctor, most will stay rooted at home on Sunday.’
      • ‘I was told, even if the papers from abroad prove inoculations, the dogs have to be checked by a veterinary doctor in the airport.’
      • ‘Then she hired an autorickshaw and took me to a veterinary doctor.’
      • ‘Mahouts and sometimes, veterinary doctor have to accompany the jumbos if they are given on hire for long hours.’
      • ‘Talk with your doctor before having any dental work done during the course of your treatment.’
      • ‘A veterinary doctor by profession, he began his love affair with Nila about 25 years ago.’
      • ‘So you think you'd like to be a veterinary doctor and you love animals?’
      • ‘A veterinary doctor attended on her, but the symptoms continued.’
      • ‘My cat needs me to feed her, take her to the doctor, and open the door for her.’
      • ‘In the panel were veterinary doctors, elephant owners, mahouts and elephant lovers.’
      • ‘Veterinary doctors and other competent personnel should be requisitioned for the purpose, at least on a contract basis.’
    2. 1.2informal [with modifier]A person employed to make improvements or give advice.
      ‘the script doctor rewrote the original’
      • ‘She is a freelance writer, a script doctor and producer, and an award-winning journalist.’
      • ‘Hit and Runway is indeed like a bunch of hopelessly lost screen cretins looking for a script doctor.’
      • ‘This movie didn't really need a script doctor - but an acting coach sure wouldn't have hurt..’
      • ‘It's important to note how badly a script doctor was needed for The Singing Detective.’
      • ‘So what do the script doctors at SARFT recommend?’
      • ‘This is the way he described working as a script doctor vs. writing his own stuff.’
      • ‘What do you think of these high-profile script doctors?’
      • ‘After directing the film, he hightailed it out to Bali, only to return again to work as a script doctor.’
      • ‘Storytelling has been abused in Hollywood since producers started consulting script doctors.’
      • ‘In addition, it is likely uncredited but well-paid script doctors were drafted in to rewrite certain scenes.’
      • ‘I learnt this as a junior spin doctor for a minor political party.’
      • ‘The one-liners are as zingfully fresh as only Hollywood's best script doctors can write.’
      • ‘But the thing is, for a script doctor, the best thing in the world is a good idea with a terrible script.’
      • ‘Nowadays it often seems as if studios employ script doctors not to remove four-letter words but to add them.’
      • ‘This is the story of New York city date doctor employed by socially-inept men to help orchestrate their first three dates with the women of their dreams.’
      • ‘I turned to the hair doctor for advice.’
      • ‘In the present crisis, the Tories should not be consulting spin doctors, but historians.’
      • ‘The razor-sharp wit that made Fisher a highly paid Hollywood script doctor is also on display.’
      • ‘Money is wasted on explosions and stunts when it should have been given to a script doctor.’
  • 2A person who holds the highest university degree.

    ‘he was made a Doctor of Divinity’
    • ‘This week Glasgow Caledonian University is making him an Honorary Doctor of Letters.’
    • ‘Last Wednesday, he was made a Doctor of Music at the University of St Andrews.’
    • ‘He studied in St. Nathy's College, Ballaghaderreen and later graduated as a Doctor of Science.’
    1. 2.1
      • ‘Local saints are frequently included, as well as figures of general importance, apostles, and doctors of the Church.’
      • ‘Bede was recognized as a doctor of the church by Pope Leo XIII in 1899.’
      • ‘It was not until after the Council of Trent that popes began to add new doctors of the church at regular intervals.’
    2. 2.2archaic A teacher or learned person.
      ‘the wisest doctor is gravelled by the inquisitiveness of a child’
      • ‘The learned doctors of the Great Vehicle teach us that the essential characteristic of the universe is its emptiness.’
      educator, tutor, instructor, pedagogue, schoolteacher, schoolmaster, schoolmistress, master, mistress, governess, educationalist, educationist
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  • 3An artificial fishing fly.

  • 4[with modifier] A cool onshore breeze that blows regularly in a particular warm location.

    ‘the Perth doctor blows towards evening off the Indian Ocean’
    • ‘The ocean breeze the Aussies call "the doctor" did, as advertised, come in most afternoons or evenings to cool things off.’
    • ‘Even on the hottest days, the Fremantle Doctor – the famous seabreeze off the Indian Ocean – comes to the rescue by early afternoon.’
    • ‘My mom's family planned their yearly escape from the heat—to the beach, where they would at least have the Fremantle doctor in the evening.’
    • ‘The harmattan blows during the winter months along the coast of Upper Guinea,where it is locally known as "the doctor".’
    • ‘We watched what may have been the most exciting America's Cup races of our time thanks to the Fremantle Doctor, the strong wind that blows regularly every afternoon when cool air is pulled in off the ocean.’


  • 1Change the content or appearance of (a document or picture) in order to deceive; falsify.

    ‘the reports could have been doctored’
    • ‘As part of the understanding, any passport suspected to be fake or doctored, is scanned along with the photograph of the applicant and sent to the RPO's office.’
    • ‘He suggested a senior lecturer had doctored documents for the purpose of an employment tribunal.’
    • ‘In real life, even models have stretch marks (fashion photos are doctored up).’
    • ‘The company claims he doctored documents to cover his tracks.’
    • ‘But he didn't tell the therapist the truth, and his lies continued for 10 more days, during which time he delivered a letter, and copies of the doctored files, to his boss.’
    • ‘Even though everyone knows these images are doctored they are still there.’
    • ‘Signatures were forged, medical records were doctored.’
    • ‘But the public interest would not be served by people of dubious motives giving false information by doctoring the official record.’
    • ‘First they said that pictures showing the bulge might have been doctored.’
    • ‘He doctored the roll-call records to make it seem as if he hadn't deserted.’
    • ‘I got back to London with a huge amount of material - a lot of it had been doctored or falsified.’
    • ‘Instead, they come in to the advisers and pick files at random - a complete waste of time since files can be doctored.’
    • ‘Since so many of the documents on view are themselves doctored items or spoofs, factuality becomes suspect.’
    • ‘Murphy's defence team said the notes, drawn up by detectives during the interviews, had been doctored as different types of paper, ink and handwriting appeared among the 54 pages.’
    • ‘We thought that we were the only ones that doctored photos.’
    • ‘To add some visual appeal and an element of authenticity, there were photos doctored appropriately using digital technology.’
    • ‘Please note that these pictures have not been doctored in any way.’
    • ‘But what if he hadn't been suspected of doctoring his report?’
    • ‘One news agency photographer has already been fired for doctoring his photos in Lebanon!’
    falsify, tamper with, tinker with, interfere with, manipulate, massage, rig, alter, change
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    1. 1.1Alter the content of (food or drink) by adding strong or harmful ingredients.
      ‘he denied doctoring Stephen's drinks’
      • ‘Pre-eleven o'clock it's a restaurant serving spicy Asian delicacies a la fish and noodles that might just have been doctored with aphrodisiacs.’
      • ‘I think that third-world countries can benefit from GM foods, because these doctored foods can provide the nutrients that these deprived people need to stay alive.’
      • ‘Other research extends these findings from doctored drinks to regular food.’
      • ‘We get hold of some, find a sheep and doctor its food.’
      • ‘The family of the latest victim said they know of at least two other young people who believe their drinks had been doctored in local pubs.’
      • ‘You conspiracy theorists can put away your suspicions that the meat is being doctored for cosmetic purposes.’
      • ‘Places where men can band together and consume meat are now either heavily policed, or the meat is doctored to lessen its impact.’
      adulterate, contaminate, taint, tamper with, lace, mix, dilute, water down, thin out, weaken
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    2. 1.2Baseball Cricket Tamper with (a ball) so as to affect its flight when bowled or pitched.
      ‘fast bowlers were doctoring the ball’
      • ‘Check out what the pitcher said after being accused of doctoring the ball.’
      • ‘Whether it's pitchers doctoring baseballs, batters corking bats or electricians creating an eye in the sky cheating system, historically, individuals and teams sometimes do whatever is necessary to gain an edge.’
      • ‘He doctored a ball over the course of two weeks by pounding it with a bat, soaking it in soapy water, and finally coating it with white shoe polish to make it look like new.’
      • ‘Ballplayers will try to gain an edge whenever possible whether it's doctoring baseballs, corking bats, or taking an illegal position in the batter's box.’
      • ‘He references unsavory baseball aids used through the years - doctored balls, corked bats, amphetamines - and tries to claim them as precursors to steroid use.’
  • 2informal Treat (someone) medically.

    ‘he contemplated giving up doctoring’
    • ‘He took them hay from a storm-damaged feed store and doctored injured animals with medicine he had.’
    • ‘I've had some experience with doctoring because my father was a doctor.’
    • ‘His great love, after doctoring, was sailing, mainly off the west coast of Scotland, in almost any weather, in a boat built to his design by his elder brother.’
    • ‘Next, Robyn doctored the wounds with medicine that stung.’
    • ‘She is into the ritual of it carefully taking out her first aid kit, then deciding where to cut, then doctoring up the cut, then watching it heal.’
    • ‘Last night, in the absence of echinacea, I doctored myself with a fiery curry and generous amounts of a rather rough Kentucky bourbon.’
    • ‘She was soon doctoring his wounds with antiseptic cream.’
    • ‘In the meantime, she was still doctoring the band when one of its members had a sprained ankle or a cold.’
    • ‘Successfully doctoring my wounds, I entered the living room.’
    • ‘Carter, who regularly doctored his people, had enormous respect for Nassaw's ability as a physician, for, in truth, Nassaw was one of the finest surgeons in colonial Virginia.’
    • ‘The court then brings forth a poor Saxon who was healed by Rebecca's doctoring.’
    • ‘Presumably in artistic work, as opposed to lawyering or doctoring, there is a larger element of the unconscious or intuitive.’
    • ‘They should let doctors get on with doctoring and encourage staff to support them.’
    • ‘Extensive training is provided for younger or newer staff members - an orientation time for them to learn, to grow and to change the way in which they may have nursed or doctored in the past.’
    • ‘By doctoring themselves, women would be spared the need to reveal embarrassing details to a doctor.’
    • ‘He'd been doctoring there since the town was founded, so most of the crosses in the graveyard were probably his patients.’
    • ‘This person is not doctoring properly.’
    • ‘It's much better to let that person be doctored.’
    • ‘On this day, Sarah also worked for Mr. Riske's son, Edward, who took in sick people for doctoring.’
    • ‘I have been doctoring this condition for 20-some years with not a lot of success.’
    treat, medicate, dose, soothe, cure, heal
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    1. 2.1Remove the sexual organs of (an animal) so that it cannot reproduce.
      ‘the dog was doctored’
      • ‘Wait until your pet is doctored and feeling more like their cheery, upbeat self.’
      • ‘Over the past year, about twice the usual number of cats and dogs were doctored.’
    2. 2.2Repair (a machine)
      ‘ex-fleet cars which have been doctored’


  • be (just) what the doctor ordered

    • informal Be very beneficial or desirable under the circumstances.

      ‘a 2–0 victory is just what the doctor ordered’
      • ‘Meantime, let's just say that London is exactly what the doctor ordered - in other words, I am very happy to be here.’
      • ‘But if your taste buds are yearning for real Caribbean cooking then the spicy West Indian Pepperpot - cooked in the traditional way - is just what the doctor ordered.’
      • ‘Holland struck the first blow for Midleton in the 23rd minute with a penalty but Carlow's response a few minutes later was just what the doctor ordered.’
      • ‘Now, my legs still burning from the climb up this hill, my face glowing from sun and wind, I decide that a little nap is just what the doctor ordered.’
      • ‘I was thinking that for urban paranoids who don't feel safe unless they're in the deepest part of their apartments, North Dakota is just what the doctor ordered.’
      • ‘A media-savvy leader with a vision, with seriousness of purpose, with honesty and decisiveness as his strongest points, a diplomat par excellence, he is exactly what the doctor ordered.’
      • ‘The style is apparently a cross between ancient tragedy and TV news, which sounds like exactly what the doctor ordered for a sultry summer weeknight.’
      • ‘However, a nice mint herbal infusion to help the meal go down smoothly was just what the doctor ordered.’
      • ‘I know killer heels aren't exactly what the doctor ordered, but I'll take the psychological boost any day.’
      • ‘With the US economy shaky and major corporate scandals marring his first year in office, a winnable war against an old enemy is just what the doctor ordered.’
  • go for the doctor

    • informal Make an all-out effort.

      ‘he will go for the doctor in Parliament next week’
      • ‘It's good to see the Freo Farmers go for the doctor when the doggies started snapping at their heels.’
      • ‘When he ‘went for the doctor’ to scoop up a dropped ‘hospital pass’ and then sprinted 75 metres for a solo try, it meant that the top Rugby side had the Cup in its keeping.’
      make an effort, try hard, strive, endeavour, apply oneself, do one's best, do all one can, do one's utmost, give one's all, make every effort, spare no effort, be at pains, put oneself out
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Middle English (in the senses ‘learned person’ and ‘Doctor of the Church’): via Old French from Latin doctor teacher (from docere teach).