1. (noun) The beliefs or principles accepted as authoritative and advocated for by an individual or group such as a political party or religion.

Example: Truman Doctrine or a military doctrine.

2. (noun) A body or system of teachings of an individual or group.

Example: The doctrines of Christianity.

Audio Pronunciation: (doc·trine)

Download Audio Pronunciation: doctrine.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Plural: doctrines
  • A doctrine can lead to an official policy.
  • Also called:
    • canon
    • creed
    • maxim
    • precept
    • school of thought
    • tenet
  • Doctrine used in a sentence: The Monroe Doctrine once guided the foreign policy of the United States.
  • A (noun) doctrinaire (adverb) doctrinally clings to a (noun) doctrinality or (noun) doctrinism often in the face of opposing views, holding fast to (adjective) doctrinal beliefs or principles and seeking to (verb) indoctrinate others to a position.

Additional Information:

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Works Consulted

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (

Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (

Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (


How to Cite the Definition of Doctrine

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “doctrine.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 16, 2019 (

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

doctrine. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “doctrine.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 16, 2019.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“doctrine.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 16 Jun. 2019. <>.