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 Some countries do not include pathogens in the protocol. Thomas B. Cueni, STAT, "Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV exposes a flaw in the Nagoya Protocol," 5 Feb. 2020 Parsons remains in the concussion protocol and was not with the team for Monday's game against Toronto. Charles Odum, Houston Chronicle, "Attorneys: Chandler Parsons has career-threatening injuries after car wreck," 20 Jan. 2020 Starting cornerback Jeff Okudah was evaluated in the concussion protocol early in the first half, but returned to play in the second half. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Clemson’s Tee Higgins returns to Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State after leaving with apparent injury," 29 Dec. 2019 Wide receiver Stanley Morgan remains in the concussion protocol. John Fay, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Bengals notes: Left tackle Jonah Williams is looking forward to 2020," 26 Dec. 2019 The 49ers also are awaiting test results on defensive tackle D.J. Jones (sprained ankle), and nickel back K’Waun Williams remains in the concussion protocol. Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "49ers’ cost of victory: Sherman, Richburg, Ford all out with injuries," 9 Dec. 2019 The school announced that the preseason All-American was in the concussion protocol. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Marquette star guard Markus Howard will miss game against Jacksonville," 4 Dec. 2019 Panthers at Falcons: Key injuries Panthers TE Greg Olsen (concussion) remains in the concussion protocol. Esten Mclaren, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons odds, picks and best bets," 4 Dec. 2019 Dillard was only playing because starting right tackle Lane Johnson is in the concussion protocol. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, "Philadelphia Eagles guard Brandon Brooks said anxiety setback prompted exit from game," 26 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for protocol

Time Traveler

The first known use of protocol was in 1541

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Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Protocol.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/protocols. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for protocol

protocol

noun
How to pronounce protocol (audio)

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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