protocol

noun pro·to·col \ ˈprō-tə-ˌkȯl , -ˌkōl , -ˌkäl , -kəl \
Updated on: 7 Dec 2017

Definition of protocol

1 : an original draft, minute, or record of a document or transaction
2 a : 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
3 a : 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 3a,b
4 : a detailed plan of a scientific or medical experiment, treatment, or procedure

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Examples of protocol in a Sentence

  1. 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 FishHarper'sDecember 2005
  2. Purcell even flouted the timeless protocol of pretending to admire the work of his fellow editors. —Tobias WolffOld School2003
  3. 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 SteeleHarper'sNovember 2002
  4. The soldier's actions constitute a breach of military protocol.

  5. They did not follow the proper diplomatic protocols.

  6. What is the proper protocol for declining a job offer?

  7. the Geneva Protocol of 1925

Recent Examples of protocol from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

Other Computer-Related Terms


PROTOCOL Defined for English Language Learners

protocol

noun

Definition of protocol for English Language Learners

  • : 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


Medical Dictionary

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 protocol
  • Journal of the American Medical Association

Law Dictionary

protocol

noun pro·to·col \ ˈprō-tə-ˌkȯl \

legal Definition of protocol

1 : an original draft, minute, or record of a document or transaction
2 a : 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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