doctor, noun

Origin:
EnglishShow more Special senses of general English doctor.
1.
a. A traditional African healer. Cf. witchdoctor.
1731 G. Medley tr. of P. Kolben’s Present State of Cape of G.H. I. 173The Doctor of the Kraal is call’d with his Amulet to remove it; which tho’ he cannot do, ’tis still Witchcraft, and is so call’d to the End of the Chapter.
1829 W. Shaw Diary. 23 Jan.The petty Chief, was reputed a doctor and a Wise man;..he..gave them a basket of Milk to drink, in [which] he had mixed certain herbs which were to operate as a charm, both for the success of their enterprize, and to ensure their safety.
1835 W.B. Boyce in A. Steedman Wanderings II. 273She was sent to a female doctor for her education, as she was intended by her parents for a doctor. In going through the initiatory dancings and singings she probably caught a severe cold.
1893 B.M. Atheling in Cape Illust. Mag. Jan. 158Considering it a case of witchcraft, he wishes to go to a Doctor and find out who it is who is acting under his rival’s instructions and causing him so much trouble.
1948 O. Walker Kaffirs Are Lively 63There was, he said, a good deal of ‘competition’ from Native doctors, usually and erroneously referred to as witchdoctors.
1959 L. Longmore Dispossessed 232There are two principal types of doctors, namely a doctor and a diviner, the so-called ‘witch-doctor’. A doctor is one who has been called to this profession by his gods through the spirits. To him it is a commitment, a responsibility, a service to humanity, a service to members in and outside his community.
1959 L. Longmore Dispossessed [see inyanga sense 1].
1980 [see smell].
b. With distinguishing epithet denoting a healer’s particular field of expertise:
lightning and hail doctor, lightning doctor;
medicine doctor;
poison doctor;
rain doctor;
smelling doctor, isanusi;
war doctor.
1887 J.W. Matthews Incwadi Yami 40It may not be out of the way here for me to mention the different recognized kinds of doctors (izinyanga): 1st, the wizard or diviner (inyanga yokubula); 2nd, the rain doctor; 3rd, the lightning and hail doctor; 4th, the medicine doctor (inyanga yokwelapa).
1913 W.C. Scully Further Reminisc. 302The important position held by the ‘lightning doctor’ among the Natives who still adhere to their tribal customs.
1941 N. Devitt Celebrated S. Afr. Crimes 128Mjila got back and was met by the witch-doctor. The latter told him he was a man of repute, a lightning doctor, a rainmaker.
1955 J.B. Shephard Land of Tikoloshe 11The wise man calls in the lightning-doctor to give his huts, his family and his stock preventive treatment which he firmly believes will insure him against the attacks of the Umpundulu bird.
1821 C.I. Latrobe Jrnl of Visit 124The bite of the Nachtschlange, or night-serpent, is said by the Hottentot poison-doctors, to be incurable.
1836 C.L. Stretch Journal. 254If any one in a kraal becomes sick, the Smelling Doctor is sent for to find out if the person has been affected by the charm of a witch.
1851 R.J. Garden Diary. I. (Killie Campbell Africana Library MS29081) 30 JuneIt is the custom of every known Caffir tribe for the Chief to have a War-Doctor...Those Doctors profess to strengthen the Chief by giving him superior power over his enemies. He is consulted prior to any approaching war and uses various plants from which he composes decoctions with which the Chief washes his body.
1907 W.C. Scully By Veldt & Kopje 62He aimed a glance of scathing contempt at the war-doctor, with whom he had been bickering considerably throughout the meeting.
1931 J.H. Soga Ama-Xosa 66The tola or war-doctor is the central figure in this special duty. His office is usually, though not always, hereditary.
1961 T.V. Bulpin White Whirlwind 112The ritual war-doctor appeared before the army carrying a blazing torch of grass prepared with the fats of certain animals known to be fierce and powerful fighters of the wilds.
1985 J.B. Peires in Staffrider Vol.6 No.2, 29The best-known of Robben Island’s early prisoners was the giant prophet and wardoctor Nxele (Makana), who attacked Grahamstown in 1819.
2. figurative.  obsolete. The Doctor: Elliptical for the Cape Doctor, see Cape Doctor.
Note:
Used also in the West Indies and Australia of similar winds.
1843 J.C. Chase Cape of G.H. 22At the Cape..the south-east wind is proverbially designated ‘the Doctor’, and no doubt by driving off the miasmatic exhalations,..it converts what might constitute malaria, into the most salubrious atmosphere in the world.
1856 F.P. Fleming Sn Afr. 62The South-Easter, from blowing all pestilential vapours and effluvia out to sea..has obtained the local epithet of ‘the Doctor’.
A traditional African healer.
Elliptical for the Cape Doctor, see Cape Doctor.
Derivatives:
Hence (sense 1) doctor transitive verb, doctoress noun, doctoring verbal noun.
1890 J. Macdonald Light in Afr. 178After this the army is assembled, and war dances are held at intervals while the process of ‘doctoring’ proceeds.
1893 B.M. Atheling in Cape Illust. Mag. Jan. 159The Doctoress looked at us for a moment in silence, and then sank down in a sitting posture on her heels.
1941 N. Devitt Celebrated S. Afr. Crimes 128Sotwana proceeded to doctor the chief.
1949 O. Walker Proud Zulu (1951) 143John was not present..at the anointing of the king with special medicines. He saw Cetewayo only after he had been doctored.
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17311985