protocol

noun
pro·​to·​col | \ ˈprō-tə-ˌkȯl How to pronounce protocol (audio) , -ˌkōl, -ˌkäl, -kəl\

Definition of protocol

1 : an original draft, minute, or record of a document or transaction
2a : 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
3a : 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
4 : a detailed plan of a scientific or medical experiment, treatment, or procedure

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Protocol and Politics

In Late Greek, the word prōtokollon referred to the first sheet of a papyrus roll bearing the date of its manufacture. In some instances, it consisted of a flyleaf that was glued to the outside of a manuscript's case and provided a description of its contents. Coming from the Greek prefix prōto- ("first") and the noun kolla ("glue"), prōtokollon gave us our word protocol. In its earliest uses in the 15th century, the word referred to a prologue or preface and also to a record of a document or transaction. In the late 19th century, it began to be used in reference to the etiquette observed by the Head of State of France in ceremonies and relations with other dignitaries. This sense has since extended in meaning to cover any code of proper conduct.

Examples of protocol in a Sentence

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 Purcell even flouted the timeless protocol of pretending to admire the work of his fellow editors. — Tobias Wolff, Old School, 2003 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 The soldier's actions constitute a breach of military protocol. They did not follow the proper diplomatic protocols. What is the proper protocol for declining a job offer? the Geneva Protocol of 1925
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Recent Examples on the Web

After the last lockdown, Desai and other administrators decided to change their security protocols, announcing at a meeting with teachers in early December the school would initiate full-scale lockdowns only if danger reached campus. John Woodrow Cox, The Seattle Times, "Numerous school lockdowns are traumatizing the nation’s children," 26 Dec. 2018 The state didn’t issue the protocols for the three-drug mix until last week. David Montero, latimes.com, "Nevada execution halted after drug company sues to stop it," 11 July 2018 Methotrexate, in addition to its key role in treating leukemia, is incorporated in treatment protocols for everything from sarcoma to certain lymphomas to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "We Are Scientists," 5 June 2018 In fact, one study that shows that study subjects who lost weight following a protocol that involved consuming two tablespoons of ACV per day were also eating 250 calories less than usual. Zahra Barnes, SELF, "10 Apple Cider Vinegar Facts to Know Before You Drink It," 1 Jan. 2019 Even though she's been a princess for years, royal women must follow a strict tiara protocol that prevents them from wearing the diamond accessory until they're married. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Princess Eugenie's Wedding Tiara Looks Nothing Like Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton's," 12 Oct. 2018 Imagine a future that replaces humans hustling to unload cars in front of restaurants with a single digital communications protocol between cars, cities, and parking spaces, which would allow cars to easily find spaces and the most efficient routes. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Why valet parking is the future of smarter urban transit," 6 Aug. 2018 Yet there’s also no denying that there are some real obstacles to ditching the practice of seeding playoff teams 1 through 8 by conference and instituting a 1-to-16 seeding protocol based purely on overall record. Marc Stein, New York Times, "Finally Free From LeBron’s Reign, the N.B.A. East Has No Reason to Change," 5 July 2018 The state has since adopted a lethal injection protocol, but has struggled to carry out executions because of legal challenges and difficulties in obtaining the necessary drugs. Washington Post, "Nebraska sets execution date for longest-serving inmate," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'protocol.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of protocol

1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

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Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for protocol

The first known use of protocol was in 1541

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More Definitions for protocol

protocol

noun

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

protocol

noun
pro·​to·​col | \ ˈprōt-ə-ˌkȯl, -ˌkōl, -ˌkäl How to pronounce protocol (audio) \

Medical Definition of protocol

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

protocol

noun
pro·​to·​col | \ ˈprō-tə-ˌkȯl How to pronounce protocol (audio) \

Legal Definition of protocol

1 : an original draft, minute, or record of a document or transaction
2a : 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on protocol

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with protocol

Spanish Central: Translation of protocol

Nglish: Translation of protocol for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of protocol for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about protocol

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