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 Many argued the police officer acted in self-defense and thus the use of lethal force was justified and followed established protocol. Paulina Villegas, Washington Post, "Lancaster, Pa., mayor says ‘we need help’ with mental health care amid protests after police shooting," 14 Sep. 2020 Under the new protocol, states are still responsible for deciding who gets a notification, but people can be traced across state lines thanks to a national data exchange system created by the Association of Public Health Laboratories. Rebecca Robbins, STAT, "STAT Health Tech: Google’s government contract to use AI in cancer diagnosis & new data on virtual diabetes coaching," 3 Sep. 2020 Both games Saturday are scheduled for seven innings under the 2020 short season COVID-19 protocol. Phil Miller, Star Tribune, "Twins, Tigers will try again with Saturday doubleheader at Comerica Park," 29 Aug. 2020 Coaches and sideline personnel diligently followed protocol, wearing their masks at all times. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "Playing Texas high school football in a semi-sterile setting is like trying to hold a rock concert in a hospital ward," 28 Aug. 2020 Tucson police followed standard protocol and called officers of the Violent Crimes Unit to begin investigating the criminal portion of the incident, including what led up to the shooting and reasons for the boy's arrest, Dugan said. Salma Reyes, The Arizona Republic, "Tucson police shoot and kill armed 17-year-old boy," 27 Aug. 2020 Saturday marked the first time Orlando City traveled to a match under the new protocol, which included flying out at 10 a.m. on match day and leaving immediately afteward following the match on a charter flight back to Orlando. Julia Poe, orlandosentinel.com, "3 things we learned from Orlando City’s 3-2 loss to Inter Miami," 23 Aug. 2020 The rest of the country is under a looser lockdown protocol, which will be in place until at least Friday. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "New Zealand investigates a common suspect in its mysterious new COVID cluster: freight," 12 Aug. 2020 Under the protocol, anyone who needed to access the Wisconsin Center needed to test negative 24 hours before entry. Bill Glauber, USA TODAY, "3 cases of COVID-19 detected among workers who sought access to Democratic convention site in Milwaukee," 7 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for protocol

Time Traveler

The first known use of protocol was in 1541

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Protocol.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/protocol. Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for protocol

protocol

noun
How to pronounce protocol (audio)

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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Comments on protocol

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