BACKGROUND: A good doctor-patient relationship should be based on mutual understanding and reliance. Proper conversation and same understanding of the use of this terminology is needed. This study was designed to make a comerstone to establish appropriate medical terminology by means of investigation of the meaning of 'neurotic' among family' physicians. METHOD: A questionnaire was sent to 971 family doctors registered as regular members in the Korean Academy of Family Medicine. We analysed 184 returned questionnaires. We calculated the percent for each item. Chi-square test used to analyse demographic characteristics and compare whether the word 'neurotic' has been used or not, and whether it was a proper medical terminology or not. RESULT: 82.6% of responders(152/184) were used to 'neurotic' as a medical terminology. Doctors in their thirties were the least using group(78.7%) and doctors working in university hospitals rarely used them being statistically significant (p<0.000). 82.5% of the doctors in using 'neurotic' responded it is not an appropriate terminology. The most frequent situation in using it was 'patient appealed organic symptom without abnormal lab result'(51.1%). The target diseases were not organic disorders such as functional dyspepsia(64.1%), tension headache(58.5%), psychosomatic or somatoform disorder(54.9%). 59% of the patients diagnosed as 'neurotic' gave unsatisfying responses. Family doctors recommended substituting to terminology such as 'functional'(33%), 'psychogenic'(31.8%), and 'stress-induced'(25.0%). CONCLUSION: Most family doctors were used to the word 'neurotic' but they did not think it was an appropriate terminology. There fore, other substitute words should be faken into consideration.