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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web Wilson said the schools went through active shooter protocol as soon as personnel were notified of the 911 text. I.c. Murrell, Arkansas Online, 17 Sep. 2022 Members of the 23 royal families will be seated in the first rows of Westminster Abbey, in front of President Biden and about 90 other presidents and prime ministers, as dictated by protocol. Mary Jordan, Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2022 Camilla, the Queen Consort, wore pearl earrings together with her favorite four-strand pearl necklace, and Anne, the Princess Royal, followed protocol by wearing her full Royal Navy ceremonial uniform paired with simple stud earrings. Rachel Garrahan, Vogue, 17 Sep. 2022 So when Mike chases Carmen instead of calling the police, per protocol, Aiden shoots him dead and joins the young woman. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Sep. 2022 The Chicago Fire set promptly entered into security protocol on Wednesday and halted production after shots were heard. Kelly Wynne, Peoplemag, 15 Sep. 2022 The rookie must clear the NFL’s protocol before returning to the field. The Indianapolis Star, 14 Sep. 2022 Earlier this year, Goldman executives emphasized their expectation that staff meeting Covid-protocol requirements will work from the office. Nicholas Comfort, Fortune, 14 Sep. 2022 Despite it all, Harry seems to agree with the decision made per royal protocol. Rosa Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 13 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of protocol was in 1541

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Protococcus

protocol

protocolar

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Last Updated

19 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Protocol.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/protocol. Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for protocol

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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