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noun pro·to·col \ˈprō-tə-ˌkȯl, -ˌkōl, -ˌkäl, -kəl\

Simple Definition of protocol

  • : 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

  1. 1 :  an original draft, minute, or record of a document or transaction

  2. 2 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

  3. 3 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

  4. 4 :  a detailed plan of a scientific or medical experiment, treatment, or procedure

Examples of protocol

  1. 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

  2. Purcell even flouted the timeless protocol of pretending to admire the work of his fellow editors. —Tobias Wolff, Old School, 2003

  3. Today, thanks to the civil-rights movement, white guilt is propriety—an utterly invisible code that defines decency in our culture with thousands of little protocols we no longer even think about. —Shelby Steele, Harper's, November 2002

  4. The soldier's actions constitute a breach of military protocol.

  5. They did not follow the proper diplomatic protocols.

  6. What is the proper protocol for declining a job offer?

  7. the Geneva Protocol of 1925

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

Medical Dictionary


noun pro·to·col \ˈprōt-ə-ˌkȯl, -ˌkōl, -ˌkäl\

Medical Definition of protocol

  1. 1:  an official account of a proceeding; especially :  the notes or records relating to a case, an experiment, or an autopsy

  2. 2:  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>

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February 11, 2016

the holder of an office

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