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 McDermott said that since the report was released, teachers, staff and parents have reviewed emergency policies and protocols and checked emergency supplies. Anna Bauman, SFChronicle.com, "Berkeley elementary school to move due to ‘shocking’ earthquake danger," 29 Nov. 2019 In his previous post in California, Farmer became convinced new protocols and newfound vigilance had succeeded in saving numerous at-risk horses, even amid the rash of fatalities at Santa Anita. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Making people mad is part of the job for Churchill Down's new medical director," 26 Nov. 2019 The coordinators will work with federal, tribal, state and local agencies to create protocols and procedures for responding to cases of missing and murdered indigenous people. Shondiin Silversmith, azcentral, "Arizona to get coordinator in nationwide plan for missing and murdered indigenous people," 26 Nov. 2019 Again, this is corroborated by witness testimony of exiled Uighurs experiencing threats and intimidation from Chinese officials overseas in breach of local laws and diplomatic protocols. Charlie Campbell / Shanghai, Time, "Leaked Documents Claim to Reveal Internal Protocols for China's Muslim Detention Camps," 25 Nov. 2019 Clearly, royal rules and protocols are made to be broken. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "What The Crown Gets Right About Princess Anne's Life as a Young Woman," 23 Nov. 2019 The board also launched a full review of the university’s admissions, including enrollment, financial aid, scholarship protocols and standards for all university colleges, the release said. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "'Improprieties' within TSU admissions under investigation," 18 Nov. 2019 But the scrutiny of the Astros did not end with the new rules and protocols. Dave Sheinin, courant.com, "MLB must address sign-stealing scandal after report on Astros’ video espionage," 13 Nov. 2019 Ethereum has a long-term vision called Eth 2.0, which would revamp the protocol and eventually do away with proof-of-work consensus. Wired, "These Researchers Are Trying to Build a Better Blockchain," 4 Nov. 2019

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

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Protocol.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/protocol. Accessed 15 December 2019.

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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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