In a medical context, the word "doctor" is quite nonspecific. It can refer to any medical professional with an MD, a PhD, or any other doctoral degree. A doctor may, for example, be a physician, psychologist, biomedical scientist, dentist, or veterinarian. In a nonmedical context, a professor of history might be addressed as doctor; an eminent theologian might be named a doctor of a church; or a person awarded an honorary doctorate by a college or university might also be called a doctor. The word "doctor" comes from the Latin "docere" meaning to teach. A doctor was a teacher, especially a learned or authoritative one.
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1. A title conferred by a university on one who has followed a prescribed course of study, or given as a title of distinction; as d. of medicine, laws, philosophy, etc. 2. A physician, especially one upon whom has been conferred the degree of M.D. by a university or medical school. [L. a teacher, fr. doceo, pp. doctus, to teach]

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doc·tor 'däk-tər n
1 a) a person who has earned one of the highest academic degrees (as a PhD) conferred by a university
b) a person awarded an honorary doctorate by a college or university
2) a person skilled or specializing in healing arts esp one (as a physician, dentist, or veterinarian) who holds an advanced degree and is licensed to practice
doctor vb, doc·tored; doc·tor·ing -t(ə-)riŋ vt
1) to give medical treatment to
2) CASTRATE (1), SPAY <have your pet cat \doctored> vi to practice medicine

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1. the title given to a recipient of a higher university degree than a Master's degree (this is usually a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD or DPhil) degree). The degree Medicinae Doctor (MD) is awarded by some British universities as a research degree to those with a first degree in medicine. In the US the degree is awarded on qualification.
2. a courtesy title given to a qualified medical practitioner, i.e. one who has been registered by the General Medical Council (GMC). Most doctors in the UK obtain bachelors' degrees in medicine and surgery (MB, BS) or the diplomas of the conjoint boards of the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons of England and Scotland or the Society of Apothecaries (e.g. LRCP, MRCS, LMSSA): these degrees or diplomas and one year's hospital experience are required by the GMC before they will register a person as a doctor. Normally it is compulsory to hold two full-time preregistration appointments in general subjects at hospitals recognized for this purpose. The doctor has the title house physician (or surgeon), resident, or intern and is debarred from independent practice. Surgeons in the UK do not use the title Doctor and are referred to, as a mark of distinction, as Mr. Qualified dentists also use the courtesy title Doctor. See also consultant.

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doc·tor (dokґtər) [L. “teacher”] 1. a practitioner of the healing arts, one who has received a degree from a college of medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic, optometry, podiatry, pharmacy, dentistry, or veterinary medicine, licensed to practice by a state. 2. a holder of a diploma of the highest degree from a university, qualified as a specialist in a particular field of learning.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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