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[dok-truh-nair] /ˈdɒk trəˈnɛər/
a person who tries to apply some doctrine or theory without sufficient regard for practical considerations; an impractical theorist.
dogmatic about others' acceptance of one's ideas; fanatical:
a doctrinaire preacher.
merely theoretical; impractical.
of, relating to, or characteristic of a doctrinaire.
Origin of doctrinaire
1810-20; < French; see doctrine, -aire
Related forms
doctrinairism, noun
nondoctrinaire, adjective
overdoctrinaire, adjective
undoctrinaire, adjective
Can be confused
doctrinal, doctrinaire.
2. authoritarian, uncompromising, inflexible, unyielding.
2. reasonable, flexible. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for doctrinaire
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A doctrinaire, there was nothing of the typical doctrinaire, or theorist, about him.

    Marse Henry (Vol. 2) Henry Watterson
  • It has been well said of him that he never became either a pedant or a doctrinaire.

  • If socialism will destroy initiative then only a doctrinaire would desire it.

    A Preface to Politics Walter Lippmann
  • It is the hideous figure of the doctrinaire which Erasmus is thinking of.

  • If his mind did not naturally work that way he would not be a doctrinaire.

    By the Christmas Fire Samuel McChord Crothers
  • The doctrinaire can never realize the fatal nature of the "too-much."

    By the Christmas Fire Samuel McChord Crothers
  • His public career shows more of the doctrinaire and precisian than can be found in any other one of these.

    The Brothers' War John Calvin Reed
British Dictionary definitions for doctrinaire


stubbornly insistent on the observation of the niceties of a theory, esp without regard to practicality, suitability, etc
theoretical; impractical
a person who stubbornly attempts to apply a theory without regard to practical difficulties
Derived Forms
doctrinairism, doctrinarism, noun
doctrinarian, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for doctrinaire

1820, from French doctrinaire "impractical person," originally "adherent of doctrines" (14c.), from Latin doctrina (see doctrine).

At first used in the context of French politics, contemptuously applied by rival factions to those who tried to reconcile liberty with royal authority after 1815. Hence, anyone who applies doctrine without making allowance for practical considerations (1831). As an adjective, from 1834.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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