a. A person who is licensed to practice medicine and has trained at a school of medicine or a school of osteopathic medicine; a physician.
b. Any of certain other healthcare professionals, such as a dentist, optometrist, chiropractor, podiatrist, or veterinarian.
2. A practitioner of alternative medicine or folk medicine who does not have traditional medical credentials.
a. A person who has earned the highest academic degree, usually a PhD, awarded by a college or university in a specified discipline.
b. A person awarded an honorary degree by a college or university.
4. Abbr. Dr. Used as a title and form of address for a person holding the degree of doctor.
5. Roman Catholic Church An eminent theologian.
6. A rig or device contrived for remedying an emergency situation or for doing a special task.
v. doc·tored, doc·tor·ing, doc·tors
1. Informal To give medical treatment to: "[He] does more than practice medicine. He doctors people. There's a difference" (Charles Kuralt).
2. To repair, especially in a makeshift manner; rig.
a. To falsify or change in such a way as to make favorable to oneself: doctored the evidence.
b. To add ingredients so as to improve or conceal the taste, appearance, or quality of: doctor the soup with a dash of sherry.
c. To alter or modify for a specific end: doctored my standard speech for the small-town audience.
d. Baseball To deface or apply a substance to (the ball) in violation of the rules in order to throw a pitch with extraordinary movement: was ejected because he doctored the ball with a piece of sandpaper.
To practice medicine.
[Middle English, an expert, authority, from Old French docteur, from Latin doctor, teacher, from docēre, to teach; see dek- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
doctor·al (dŏktə-rəl, dŏk-tôrəl) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus