The abbreviation originated in an effort to separate people qualified to practice medicine from those holding the highest academic degree i.e. doctorate in nonmedical subjects. Hence, a physician or surgeon is denoted by Dr, while the holders of academic degrees are known by the initial ‘D’ e.g. DPhil (Philosophy) or DLitt (Literature). In USA, only dentists and veterinary surgeons are called doctors. Physicians and surgeons are known as such and do not put ‘Dr’ before their names. Engineers, at least in India, put ‘Er’ before their names.
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