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[proh-tuh-kawl, -kol, -kohl] /ˈproʊ təˌkɔl, -ˌkɒl, -ˌkoʊl/
the customs and regulations dealing with diplomatic formality, precedence, and etiquette.
an original draft, minute, or record from which a document, especially a treaty, is prepared.
a supplementary international agreement.
an agreement between states.
an annex to a treaty giving data relating to it.
Medicine/Medical. the plan for carrying out a scientific study or a patient's treatment regimen.
Computers. a set of rules governing the format of messages that are exchanged between computers.
Also called protocol statement, protocol sentence, protocol proposition. Philosophy. a statement reporting an observation or experience in the most fundamental terms without interpretation: sometimes taken as the basis of empirical verification, as of scientific laws.
verb (used without object)
to draft or issue a protocol.
Origin of protocol
1535-45; earlier protocoll < Medieval Latin prōtocollum < Late Greek prōtókollon orig., a leaf or tag attached to a rolled papyrus manuscript and containing notes as to contents. See proto-, colloid
Related forms
[proh-tuh-kol-er] /ˌproʊ təˈkɒl ər/ (Show IPA),
protocolary, protocolic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for protocol


the formal etiquette and code of behaviour, precedence, and procedure for state and diplomatic ceremonies
a memorandum or record of an agreement, esp one reached in international negotiations, a meeting, etc
(chiefly US)
  1. a record of data or observations on a particular experiment or proceeding
  2. an annexe appended to a treaty to deal with subsidiary matters or to render the treaty more lucid
  3. a formal international agreement or understanding on some matter
an amendment to a treaty or convention
(philosophy) a statement that is immediately verifiable by experience In full protocol statement See logical positivism
(computing) the set form in which data must be presented for handling by a particular computer configuration, esp in the transmission of information between different computer systems
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin prōtocollum, from Late Greek prōtokollon sheet glued to the front of a manuscript, from proto- + kolla glue
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 protocol

1540s, as prothogall "draft of a document," from Middle French prothocole (c.1200, Modern French protocole), from Medieval Latin protocollum "draft," literally "the first sheet of a volume" (on which contents and errata were written), from Greek protokollon "first sheet glued onto a manuscript," from protos "first" (see proto-) + kolla "glue."

Sense developed in Medieval Latin and French from "official account" to "official record of a transaction," to "diplomatic document," and finally, in French, to "formula of diplomatic etiquette." Meaning "diplomatic rules of etiquette" in English first recorded 1896, from French; general sense of "conventional proper conduct" is from 1952. "Protocols of the (Learned) Elders of Zion," Russian anti-Semitic forgery purporting to reveal Jewish plan for world domination, first published in English 1920 under title "The Jewish Peril."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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protocol in Medicine

protocol pro·to·col (prō'tə-kôl', -kōl')
The plan for a course of medical treatment or for a scientific experiment.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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protocol in Science
  (prō'tə-kôl', -kōl')   
  1. The plan for a course of medical treatment or for a scientific experiment.

  2. A set of standardized procedures for transmitting or storing data, especially those used in regulating data transmission between computers or peripherals.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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protocol in Technology

A set of formal rules describing how to transmit data, especially across a network. Low level protocols define the electrical and physical standards to be observed, bit- and byte-ordering and the transmission and error detection and correction of the bit stream. High level protocols deal with the data formatting, including the syntax of messages, the terminal to computer dialogue, character sets, sequencing of messages etc.
Many protocols are defined by RFCs or by OSI.
See also handshaking.
[Jargon File]
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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