noun \ˈprō-tə-ˌkl, -ˌkōl, -ˌkäl, -kəl\

: a system of rules that explain the correct conduct and procedures to be followed in formal situations

: a plan for a scientific experiment or for medical treatment

: a document that describes the details of a treaty or formal agreement between countries

Full Definition of PROTOCOL

:  an original draft, minute, or record of a document or transaction
a :  a preliminary memorandum often formulated and signed by diplomatic negotiators as a basis for a final convention or treaty
b :  the records or minutes of a diplomatic conference or congress that show officially the agreements arrived at by the negotiators
a :  a code prescribing strict adherence to correct etiquette and precedence (as in diplomatic exchange and in the military services) <a breach of protocol>
b :  a set of conventions governing the treatment and especially the formatting of data in an electronic communications system <network protocols>
c :  convention 3a,b
:  a detailed plan of a scientific or medical experiment, treatment, or procedure

Examples of PROTOCOL

  1. The soldier's actions constitute a breach of military protocol.
  2. They did not follow the proper diplomatic protocols.
  3. What is the proper protocol for declining a job offer?
  4. the Geneva Protocol of 1925
  5. Typically, those who make pronouncements like this assume (without saying so) that the tongues making up the multitude will belong to persons who are committed to the protocols of rational inquiry; frivolous persons, persons who exploit those protocols or play with them to gain political ends, are not imagined. —Stanley Fish, Harper's, December 2005

Origin of PROTOCOL

Middle French prothocole, from Medieval Latin protocollum, from Late Greek prōtokollon first sheet of a papyrus roll bearing date of manufacture, from Greek prōt- prot- + kollan to glue together, from kolla glue; perhaps akin to Middle Dutch helen to glue
First Known Use: 1541

Other Computer-Related Terms

adware, flash, kludge, phishing, recursive, router


noun \ˈprōt-ə-ˌkl, -ˌkōl, -ˌkäl\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of PROTOCOL

: an official account of a proceeding; especially : the notes or records relating to a case, an experiment, or an autopsy
: a detailed plan of a scientific or medical experiment, treatment, or procedure <cryotherapy was performed in approximately half of the eyes through a randomization protocolJournal of the American Medical Association>


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In computer science, a set of rules or procedures for transmitting data between electronic devices, such as computers. In order for computers to exchange information, there must be a preexisting agreement as to how the information will be structured and how each side will send and receive it. Without a protocol, a transmitting computer, for example, could be sending its data in 8-bit packets while the receiving computer might expect the data in 16-bit packets. Protocols are established by international or industrywide organizations. Perhaps the most important computer protocol is OSI (Open Systems Interconnection), a set of guidelines for implementing networking communications between computers. The most important sets of Internet protocols are TCP/IP, HTTP, and FTP.


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