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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
  • Neither doctrinaire socialism nor unrestricted individualism nor any other ism will bring about the millennium.
  • Both of you are acting if the others belief systems are rigid, doctrinaire and utterly hopeless to approach by rational argument.
  • Which shows that, when it comes to art and the doctrinaire temperament, the ends meet.
  • Perry joined in the doctrinaire foolishness his rivals displayed in an earlier debate.
  • He showed no inclination to do so before, and now he has powerful political reasons to be absolutely doctrinaire on this question.
  • But one doesn't have to accept the legend of their omnipotence to believe their doctrinaire intransigence distorts the debate.
  • Not that they are doctrinaire about their unplugged-ness.
  • In poetry, doctrinaire composition has no permanent place.
  • There are two doctrinaire positions that have proved singularly destructive over the last half century.
  • All these influences appear in his music, but not in a doctrinaire or baldly programmatic fashion.
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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