AskDefine | Define doctrine

Dictionary Definition

doctrine n : a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school [syn: philosophy, philosophical system, school of thought, ism]

User Contributed Dictionary



From doctrine.



  1. A belief or tenet, especially about philosophical or theological matters.
  2. The body of teachings of a religion, or a religious leader, organization, group or text.
The incarnation is a basic doctrine of classical Christianity.
The four noble truths summarise the main doctrines of Buddhism.

Related terms


body of beliefs or teachings



From doctrina, diminutive from doctus, taught, perfect passive participle of docere, teach


fr-noun f
  1. doctrine

Extensive Definition

Doctrine (Latin: doctrina) is a code of beliefs or "a body of teachings" or "instructions", taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system. The Greek analogy is the etymology of catechism.
Often doctrine specifically connotes a corpus of religious dogma as it is promulgated by a church, but not necessarily: doctrine is also 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, or the more narrowly applicable first-sale doctrine.

Foreign policy of Doctrine

In matters of foreign policy, a doctrine, also known as dogma, is a body of axioms fundamental to the exercise of a nation's foreign policy. Hence, doctrine, in this sense, has come to suggest a broad consistency that holds true across a spectrum of acts and actions. Doctrines of this sort are almost always presented as the personal creations of one particular political leader, whom they are named after. Examples include the Monroe Doctrine, the Stimson Doctrine, the Truman Doctrine, the Eisenhower Doctrine, the Nixon Doctrine, the Brezhnev Doctrine, the Kirkpatrick doctrine, the McCain Doctrine.

Religious usage

One department of the Roman Curia is called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Military usage

The term also applies to the concept of an established procedure to a complex operation in warfare. The typical example is tactical doctrine in which a standard set of maneuvers, kinds of troops and weapons are employed as a default approach to a kind of attack.
Almost every military organization has its own doctrine. Sometimes written, sometimes unwritten.

Legal usage

A legal doctrine is a body of inter-related rules (usually of common law and built over a long period of time) associated with a legal concept or principle. For example the doctrine of frustration of purpose now has many tests and rules applicable with regards to each other and can be contained within a 'bubble' of Frustration. In a court session a defendant may refer to the doctrine of justification.
It can be seen that a branch of law contains various doctrine, which in turn contains various rules or tests. The test of Non-occurrence of crucial event is part of the doctrine of Frustration which is part of Contract Law. Doctrines can grow into a branch of law; restitution is now considered a branch of law separate to Contract and Tort.


The term indoctrination came to have awkward connotations during the 20th century, but it is necessary to retain it, in order to distinguish it from education. In education one is asked to stand as much as possible outside the body of accumulated knowledge and analyze it. In indoctrination on the other hand, one stands within the body of knowledge and absorbs its teachings. Compare theology and comparative religion for examples, of which many could be drawn.


doctrine in Catalan: Doctrina
doctrine in Czech: Doktrína
doctrine in Danish: Doktrin
doctrine in German: Doktrin
doctrine in Estonian: Doktriin
doctrine in Spanish: Doctrina
doctrine in Persian: دکترین
doctrine in French: Doctrine
doctrine in Croatian: Doktrina
doctrine in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Doctrina
doctrine in Georgian: დოქტრინა
doctrine in Lithuanian: Teisės doktrina
doctrine in Dutch: Doctrine
doctrine in Japanese: ドクトリン
doctrine in Norwegian: Doktrine
doctrine in Norwegian Nynorsk: Doktrine
doctrine in Polish: Doktryna
doctrine in Portuguese: Doutrina
doctrine in Romanian: Doctrină
doctrine in Russian: Доктрина
doctrine in Simple English: Doctrine
doctrine in Slovak: Doktrína
doctrine in Finnish: Doktriini
doctrine in Swedish: Doktrin
doctrine in Thai: ลัทธิ

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Athanasian Creed, Catechism, Nicene Creed, a belief, article of faith, articles of faith, articles of religion, axiom, basic, belief, canon, concept, conviction, credenda, credo, creed, dogma, faith, fundamental, idea, instruction, maxim, opinion, orthodoxy, postulate, precept, principle, proposition, religion, religious belief, religious faith, system of beliefs, teaching, tenet, theology, theory, thesis, tradition
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