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

The Heat played most of the game without G League veteran Charles Cooke, who went to the locker room in the final minute of the first period, entering the NBA's concussion protocol, assuredly out for at least Wednesday's game, as well. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "Kendrick Nunn, Yante Maten offer summer statements in Heat victory over Kings," 3 July 2019 Another fundamental protocol, known as the Domain Name System, has dealt with similar issues. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "The Infrastructure Mess Causing Countless Internet Outages," 28 June 2019 Benavidez suffered one of those avoidable deaths when a haul truck driver, even after following the mine’s safety protocols, never saw Benavidez’s Chevrolet pickup and drove over it. Mark Olalde, AZCentral.com, "Backup cameras would save miners' lives. So why are mines fighting against using them?," 26 June 2019 By the early 1990s, the People's Princess had broken royal protocol a few times already. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "A Closer Look at Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana's Complicated Relationship," 24 June 2019 But there was a system, a protocol, a culture around the game. Greg Bottoms, Harper's magazine, "Pinball Wizard," 24 June 2019 Ask about safety prevention protocols, such as movement sensors or wander alarms. John Caniglia, cleveland.com, "How to find the best fit in assisted living," 23 June 2019 The Toczylowski family, in keeping with medical protocol, do not know the donor’s identity, although after a year passes, either family can write a letter that will be passed on to the donor’s or recipient’s family. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: For a young San Diego man, life truly is a miracle," 14 June 2019 Lastly, Thompson addresses the claims that Meghan broke royal protocol for closing her car door by herself and for wearing dark nail polish. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Rickey Thompson Breaks Down Everything You Need to Know About Royal Etiquette," 5 June 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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Statistics for protocol

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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
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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