: 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 2005Purcell even flouted the timeless protocol of pretending to admire the work of his fellow editors.—Tobias Wolff, Old School, 2003Today, 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 WebNewsom’s office directed questions about whether the state has any regular inspection protocols to state transportation officials.—Julie Watson, Fortune, 16 Nov. 2023 As the princess’s coffin passed Elizabeth, the queen bowed her head, breaking from protocol with a gesture that helped redeem her earlier silence in the eyes of the grieving public.—Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Nov. 2023 King Charles Steps Out on His 75th Birthday to Launch New Project Alongside Queen Camilla
Prince William might have a more relaxed attitude around this protocol than previous royal generations, according to one anecdote.—Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 14 Nov. 2023 Besides focusing on protocols relating to financial and non-financial reporting compliance, CFOs should prioritize building a robust risk governance culture that supports adherence to applicable laws, regulations and internal policies.—Jim Deloach, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 These fines were imposed in response to a range of violations, including not following COVID-19 infection prevention protocol, making medication errors, not reporting unexpected deaths and failing to protect residents from harm.—Rose Lundy, ProPublica, 12 Nov. 2023 In keeping with wildfire-incident protocol, it was named after a landmark near the fire’s origin — Camp Creek.—John Riha, Discover Magazine, 12 Nov. 2023 For his Parkinson’s fight, Gracie swapped the dune for protocols.—Kevin Maurer, Rolling Stone, 12 Nov. 2023 The Eve Motion Sensor uses Thread, a low-power wireless protocol that allows devices to talk directly to each other.—WIRED, 7 Nov. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'protocol.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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