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

Ramos worked with Bini on a project at the Center for Digital Autonomy for creating a more secure instant-messaging encryption protocol. Frank Bajak, The Seattle Times, "Ace Swedish coder held by Ecuador was defender of Assange," 14 Apr. 2019 Working for the royal family means grasping a whole new set of specific protocols. Annabelle Spranklen, Town & Country, "What It's Really Like to Work for the Royal Family," 6 Apr. 2019 In more corporate settings, showing up in something other than a suit and heels goes against sartorial protocol. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Can You Wear Jeans in the Office? Here’s How 14 Vogue Editors Do It," 15 Feb. 2019 While it's thought that Meghan might have privately approved the interview, protocol dictates that all stories are officially run by the press office first. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Palace Reportedly Didn't Know Meghan Markle's Friends Were Talking to the Press," 9 Feb. 2019 One huge reason flying is so safe today is that aviation experts have changed flying equipment and protocol based on past crashes. Jessica Toscano, SELF, "How to Finally Overcome Your Fear of Flying," 31 Jan. 2019 The public does not even know whether many of the defendant agencies have internal rules or protocols governing hacking. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "ACLU to feds: Your “hacking presents a unique threat to individual privacy”," 21 Dec. 2018 The Bredesen Protocol Dale Bredesen’s protocol is designed as a comprehensive personalized program that aims to reverse the biological causes of cognitive decline and early Alzheimer’s disease. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? It Starts With Lifestyle," 16 Nov. 2018 He has been placed on administrative leave as per protocol while county police conduct an independent investigation. Chris Irvine, Fox News, "Cop who fatally shot unarmed 17-year-old boy was sworn in just 90 minutes before, police sources say," 2 Oct. 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

22 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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