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 Tokyo organizers plan to release more details about their latest protocol plans on Wednesday. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "Tokyo Olympics Say They Can Be Held Safely. Experts Say They Need Vaccines.," 26 Apr. 2021 As investigators retraced each of the steps and notified the other affected states, rhododendrons, lilacs, viburnums, and other plants found to be infected were destroyed, as federal protocol requires. Ellie Shechet, The New Republic, "The Diseased Rhododendrons That Triggered a Federal Plant Hunt," 26 Apr. 2021 But Porter was at a strip club (breaking COVID-19 protocol) where a fight broke out and police were called. Terry Pluto, cleveland, "The Cavaliers have me talking to myself, starting with a history lesson – Terry Pluto," 25 Apr. 2021 Mehaffey, a four-time All-America and 2019 Pac-12 individual champion from Ireland, is out due to COVID healthy and safety protocol. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, "ASU All-America golfer Olivia Mehaffey to miss Pac-12 Championships," 23 Apr. 2021 Variety reported after the conference that attendees wouldn’t be asked to wear masks while on camera, as follows from the show abiding by film and television production protocol. Washington Post, "What to expect from the pandemic-era Oscars," 23 Apr. 2021 Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson has cleared the NBA’s concussion protocol and will be available for Friday night’s game against the Nuggets at Chase Center. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors' Juan Toscano-Anderson clears concussion protocol, returns vs. Nuggets," 23 Apr. 2021 Given the circumstances, the above protocol may change in accordance with CT State guidelines. courant.com, "Community News For The Farmington Valley Edition," 22 Apr. 2021 Outrage over Tuesday’s deadly shooting came after police broke protocol and released bodycam footage that appeared to show the victim charging another female with a knife before being shot. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "LeBron James' sponsors, Lakers, NBA silent in wake of controversial tweet targeting Ohio cop," 22 Apr. 2021

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

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Protocol.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/protocol. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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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