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Doctor ( IPA:/ˈdɒktə/, About this soundAudio (US)  ) is a word that has more than one meaning. It can mean a person who practices medicine or surgery[1], a person who practices dentistry, alternative medicine or it can mean someone who has gained the highest degree at a university[1] or in Australia and New Zealand to mean a cook at a camp.[1] The word doctor comes from Latin and means teacher. People have been known as medical doctors for over 4600 years since at least the year 2650BCE. In many countries the word doctor can only be used by people who are licensed medical doctors or who have the highest degree from a university.

History of the word[change | change source]

The first time the word was used in the English language was in 1303 and was used as meaning a "doctor of the church" which meant a person who knew a lot about religion. Doctor is a latin word that means 'teacher'[1] and is a form of the Latin word 'docre' which means 'to teach'. The first time doctor was used in English to mean a 'medical doctor' was in 1377 and was written as a person being a "doctour of deth" meaning a doctor of death (ie: a medical doctor).[2] The word was often used by the 16th century to mean a person who is a medical doctor and is found in William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor.[3]

Medical doctor[change | change source]

A medical doctor is a person who has gone to a medical school at a university for a number of years and has passed tests to become a doctor. Medical doctors see people who are sick or injured and give them treatment or medicine to make them well again or to make their sickness less. All medical doctors earn the same basic degree and will do more training after they graduate from medical school to become a physician or a surgeon.

History[change | change source]

Imhotep, the first known doctor
in hieroglyphs

The first person who we know by name that was a doctor was the Egyptian priest and doctor Imhotep.[4] Imhotep lived in ancient Egypt in 2650 B.C and was the doctor for King Zoser.[4] Imhotep was the person who started the practice of medicine in ancient Egypt.[5][6][7]

Physician[change | change source]

A physician in Iraq helping a child

A physician ( IPA: , About this soundAudio (US)  ) is a medical doctor who works with people who are sick or ill but who do not need a doctor who uses a knife to open up their body and fix a problem or remove part of them. A physician uses drugs and other treatments to help a person be cured. A written order for a drug is called a prescription. Physicians often work in their offices outside of hospitals but also work inside hospitals, at schools, for companies and for governments. Physicians also work for the emergency services where the go to help people in an emergency. In some countries (such as the United Kingdom) physicians do house calls (where they go to someone's house to see them instead of making the person come to their office). In other countries (such as the United States) this no longer happens.

Surgeon[change | change source]

A surgeon washing their hands in Nigeria

University doctors[change | change source]

A group of university doctors in academic dress

Many universities offer a degree called a doctorate as their highest level of degree. There are many different doctorates, including; Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Doctor of Letters (D.Litt), Doctor of Education (EdD), Doctor of Laws (LLD), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and many others.

Church doctors[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Doctor". Retrieved 25-02-2009. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. 1377 LANGL. P. Pl. B. XVIII. 362
  3. 1598 SHAKES. Merry W. III. i. 106
  4. 4.0 4.1 William Osler, The Evolution of Modern Medicine, Kessinger Publishing 2004, p.12
  5. Mostafa Shehata, MD (2004), "The Father of Medicine: A Historical Reconsideration", J Med Ethics 12, p. 171-176 [176].
  6. How Imhotep gave us medicine, The Daily Telegraph, 10/05/2007.
  7. Jimmy Dunn, Imhotep, Doctor, Architect, High Priest, Scribe and Vizier to King Djoser.[1]

Other websites[change | change source]


Category:Medicine Category:Occupations

ar:دكتور bg:Доктор cs:Ph.D. da:Ph.d. de:Ph. D. el:Διδακτορικό δίπλωμα en:Doctor of Philosophy es:PhD eo:Doktoro de filozofio fr:Philosophiæ doctor it:Doctor of Philosophy he:דוקטור lt:Daktaras nl:Doctor of Philosophy ja:Ph.D. no:Filosofisk doktorgrad pl:Ph.D. pt:Doutoramento ru:Доктор философии sq:Doktori sk:Doktor fi:Filosofian tohtori sv:Filosofie doktor uk:Доктор філософії yi:.Ph.D zh:哲學博士