protocol

noun
pro·​to·​col | \ ˈprō-tə-ˌkȯl , -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

The main vulnerability, the paper states, is that many cranes are controlled with devices that use ancient, proprietary wireless protocols. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Industrial Cranes Are Disturbingly Hackable," 16 Jan. 2019 Cooper, who received four nominations for his film A Star Is Born, went against typical black tie protocol, opting for a custom Gucci optic white tuxedo in lieu of the standard black. Vogue, "Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk Win Sexiest Red Carpet Couple at the Golden Globes," 7 Jan. 2019 Tabata, and other similar protocols of training, are sometimes called high-intensity interval training (HIIT). SELF, "Core Bodyweight Builder and Tabata Burnout Workout," 30 Dec. 2018 When your boss is the alleged kingpin of the Sinaloa cartel, the protocol is a little different. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Help! My Boss Is El Chapo," 12 Jan. 2019 However, the protocols are currently too slow, so beacon developers have pursued other applications, Machado says. Sophia Chen, Science | AAAS, "Why are countries creating public random number generators?," 28 June 2018 For such a big trial, the protocol, methodological detail, and even data are extraordinarily skimpy in key areas — and that goes for the reanalysis, too. Julia Belluz, Vox, "This Mediterranean diet study was hugely impactful. The science just fell apart.," 20 June 2018 The Fidelity rep said the company’s protocol is to mail the original envelope back to the customer when a check is rejected for a deadline violation. Sean P. Murphy, BostonGlobe.com, "For lack of a legible postmark, retirement fund takes a hit," 5 June 2018 The government protocol is for doctors to tell the government if a death was caused by Hurricane Maria. CBS News, "Puerto Rico governor welcomes "real number" of Hurricane Maria deaths after shocking report," 30 May 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

11 Feb 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 \

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 \

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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