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proto-

1.
a combining form meaning “first,” “foremost,” “earliest form of,” used in the formation of compound words (protomartyr; protolithic; protoplasm), specialized in chemical terminology to denote the first of a series of compounds, or the one containing the minimum amount of an element.
Also, especially before a vowel, prot-.
Origin of proto-
< Greek, combining form representing prôtos first, superlative formed from pró; see pro-2
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for proto
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The ferrous or proto salts have generally a greenish colour, but yield nearly colourless908 solutions, except when concentrated.

  • The snakes show the same extraordinary activity on the proto level as on the gaseous, twisting and writhing, darting and coiling.

    Occult Chemistry Annie Besant and Charles W. Leadbeater
  • The funnels let go the globes, but the eight ovoids remain within them, so that seven bodies are let loose on the proto level.

    Occult Chemistry Annie Besant and Charles W. Leadbeater
  • The central globe holds together on the proto level, but yields five meta elements.

    Occult Chemistry Annie Besant and Charles W. Leadbeater
  • On the proto level these six atoms in each segment gather together and form a "cigar."

    Occult Chemistry Annie Besant and Charles W. Leadbeater
  • The central globe shows a cross at its centre, with the four quintets whirling round it, on the proto level.

    Occult Chemistry Annie Besant and Charles W. Leadbeater
  • Preservation of antiquities, 22 f. 'proto–Corinthian' pottery, 41.

  • In yttrium, on the proto level, a 110 and b 63 both escape from the funnel, and behave as in scandium.

    Occult Chemistry Annie Besant and Charles W. Leadbeater
  • The remaining bodies are set free on the proto level, and their contained spheres on the meta.

    Occult Chemistry Annie Besant and Charles W. Leadbeater
British Dictionary definitions for proto

proto-

combining form
1.
indicating the first in time, order, or rank: protomartyr
2.
primitive, ancestral, or original: prototype
3.
indicating the reconstructed earliest stage of a language: Proto-Germanic
4.
indicating the first in a series of chemical compounds: protoxide
5.
indicating the parent of a chemical compound or an element: protactinium
Word Origin
from Greek prōtos first, from pro before; see pro-²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for proto

proto-

before vowels prot-, word-forming element meaning "first, source, parent, preceding, earliest form, original, basic," from Greek proto-, comb. form of protos "first," from PIE *pre-, from root *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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proto in Medicine

proto- or prot-
pref.

  1. First in time: prototype.

  2. First formed; primitive; original: protoplast.

  3. Having the least amount of a specified element or radical: protoporphyrin.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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