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 Instead of complying with the standard protocol — which is designed to protect consumers from harm — the company has continued to promote its product on social media. Mike Wehner, BGR, "If you have this bottled water, stop drinking it immediately," 1 Apr. 2021 Looney is expected to be out of the league’s protocol for Tuesday’s game against Philadelphia, and Draymond Green and Juan Toscano-Anderson can add center minutes against the 76ers. Rusty Simmons, San Francisco Chronicle, "Will Alen Smailagic be one-and-done with Warriors after rough start against Memphis?," 20 Mar. 2021 After suffering a concussion during the Cavs’ preseason opener, Dellavedova took months to clear the league’s protocol -- a longer recovery because of his history of concussions. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Matthew Dellavedova getting closer to season debut, possible he plays during Cavaliers’ upcoming road trip," 20 Mar. 2021 James Johnson is the latest Mavericks player to enter the NBA’s COVID-19 protocol, but not because of a positive test. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, "Mavs place James Johnson in NBA’s COVID-19 protocol after he missed daily testing for personal matter," 16 Mar. 2021 The station quickly developed a new operations protocol — one person in the studio at a time, gloves and masks for staff, disinfectant after every visit. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee's all-format WMSE-FM celebrates the radio station's 40th anniversary after a trying year," 15 Mar. 2021 Thomas rented an Airbnb with a rigorous cleaning protocol, strong Internet access and a full kitchen. Washington Post, "Vaccinated lives: 5 health experts revel in simple pleasures," 10 Mar. 2021 Texas Southern University is maintaining current protocol, which requires masks or facial coverings, social distancing, temperature checks and daily COVID questionnaires. Abigail Rosenthal, Chron, "These Houston-area schools are maintaining their mask, social distancing policies," 4 Mar. 2021 The protocol, drafted at the beginning of the 2020/2021 season by Lega Serie A, issues a one-time waiver for each team in the case of more than ten COVID-19 cases. Giacomo Galardini, Forbes, "What’s Next For Serie A After SS Lazio-FC Torino Was Abandoned Due To COVID-19 Outbreak," 3 Mar. 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

4 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Protocol.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/protocol. Accessed 13 Apr. 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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