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

c : convention sense 3a,b

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

Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "Ex-Navy sailor pardoned by Trump files suit against Obama, Comey for failure to prosecute Hillary Clinton," 10 July 2018 That opens up problems with frontline behavior — including adhering to security protocols. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "5 Space Forces From Sci-Fi and What We Can Learn From Them," 6 July 2018 At 19, the YouTube musician was now famous enough to earn an official meet-and-greet at the conference, his movements controlled by security protocol to prevent a mob. Abby Ohlheiser, chicagotribune.com, "YouTube is the new way to get famous; at VidCon, the tweens want to be next in line," 27 June 2018 Wi-Fi devices have been using the same security protocol for over a decade. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "Wi-Fi security is starting to get its biggest upgrade in over a decade," 26 June 2018 And just like Kate, the Queen will see the dress before the groom following royal protocol. Nadia Neophytou, Glamour, "How Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Royal Wedding Will Differ From Prince William and Kate Middleton's," 15 May 2018 Many federal agencies are adopting at a fast clip a security protocol that protects work email from common hacks, even as the private sector lags behind. Jeff Stone, WSJ, "Companies Trail Federal Agencies In Protecting Email With DMARC," 10 May 2018 For failing to protect the privacy of its patients, a medical group comprised of hundreds of South Jersey doctors has agreed to pay $418 million and improve data security protocols, state officials announced Wednesday. Sam Wood, Philly.com, "After mom's gyno records found online, South Jersey docs to pay $418 million for data breach," 4 Apr. 2018 Lyme disease patient-advocacy groups—who disagree with the protocols used by most doctors for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease—are already raising concerns. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "New Effort for Lyme Disease Vaccine Draws Early Fire," 9 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

4 Nov 2018

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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

: 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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