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Italian Language/use of - medico, dottoressa, and dottore

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Question
Dear Maria,  

My question is about the terms - "dottoressa", “dottore” and “medico”.

I just want to make sure that I correctly understand these terms.

Would you please tell me if I am correct in thinking that “medico” is the actual correct term for a medical doctor or physician, but that the terms  - “dottoressa” and “dottore” are also commonly used to refer to a medical doctor or physician.  

Would you also please tell me which way is most commonly used when talking about a medical doctor or physician.


Would you please verify that “dottore” and “”dottoressa” are also used to say “doctor” in terms of a university degree.  If this is correct, is “dottoressa” and “dottore” used for all university degrees, or is this only for a more advanced degree in Italy?

Thank you

Sincerely,
Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

You are  correct in thinking that “medico” is the actual correct term for a medical doctor or physician, but that the terms  - “dottoressa” (related to a female person) and “dottore” (related to a male person) are also commonly used to refer to a medical doctor or physician.  

We use “medico” in sentences like “andare dal medico”,“medico  di famiglia“ (family doctor), “medico di bordo”(ship’s doctor) , “medico generico” (general practitioner), “medico legale”( forensic expert), “medico specialista”.

In short, the term “medico” can refers to either a male person or to a female person, whereas “dottore” and “dottoressa” are specifically used when the “dottore” is a man,and the “dottoressa” is a woman.

So, when talking about a medical doctor or physician, we can use indifferently both “medico” and “dottore/dottoressa”.

As for “dottore” and ”dottoressa”, they are also used to say “doctor” in terms of a university degree, especially  for a more advanced degree, though sometimes they are erroneously used for all university degrees.

Best regards,

Maria

Italian Language

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Maria

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Italian is my mother tongue and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning Italian Language.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D.in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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