From Middle English fisicien, from Old French fisicïen (“physician”) (modern French physicien (“physicist”)), from fisique (“art of healing”), from Latin physica (“natural science”), from Ancient Greek φυσική ἐπιστήμη (phusikḗ epistḗmē, “knowledge of nature”), from φυσικός (phusikós, “pertaining to nature”). Displaced native Middle English læche, leche, archaic Modern English leech "physician" (from Old English lǣċe (“physician, medical doctor”)).
physician (plural physicians)
- A practitioner of physic, i.e. a specialist in internal medicine, especially as opposed to a surgeon; a practitioner who treats with medication rather than with surgery.
1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter II, in The Younger Set (Project Gutenberg; EBook #14852), New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, published 1 February 2005 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 24962326:
- His forefathers had been, as a rule, professional men—physicians and lawyers; his grandfather died under the walls of Chapultepec Castle while twisting a tourniquet for a cursing dragoon; an uncle remained indefinitely at Malvern Hill; […].
- A medical doctor trained in human medicine.
- In the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries, a physician holds a postgraduate degree such Master of General Medicine or fellowship certificate such MRCP or FRCP from the Royal College of Physicians in UK, or the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in Australia and New Zealand. Contrarily, in the United States, the term is frequently regulated by State laws, and in all States includes those with the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree (not to be confused with osteopaths), the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree, and in some States those with the D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) degree (who are neither medical doctors nor part of allied health).
- See also Thesaurus:physician