General Science

  • noun a set of pre-agreed signals, codes and rules to be used for data exchange between systems


  • A procedure or practice established by long or traditional usage and currently accepted by a majority of practitioners in similar professions or trades. Protocol represents the generally accepted method of action or reaction that may be expected to be followed in a transaction.


  • A standard, or a set of rules which must be agreed upon in order for two or more devices, such as modems, to exchange information effectively. Such conventions must include considerations such as how to initiate and terminate a transmission, the transmission speed, and whether the transmission will be synchronous or asynchronous. In addition, these may include error-detection techniques, encryption, and so on. Examples of communications protocols include point-to-Point Protocol, and Zmodem. Also called communications protocol.

Human Resources

  • noun a set of rules that govern and regulate a process

Information & Library Science

  • noun a set of rules allowing unrelated information systems to communicate with each other
  • noun a system of rules about the correct way to behave in formal situations


  • noun a list of things which have been agreed.

Media Studies

  • noun software that controls the relationships between networked computers, such as on the Internet


  • noun the set of instructions for the clinical management of a particular condition, including tests, surgery and drug treatments


  • noun correct behaviour on official or ceremonial occasions
  • noun a set of rules which specify the correct way to do something


  • noun a first version of what has been agreed in negotiations between countries
  • noun the correct behaviour between ambassadors and the officials of different governments, or in any other formal proceedings

Origin & History of “protocol”

Protocol originally denoted an ‘official record of a transaction’. Not until the end of the 19th century, as a reborrowing from French, did it come to be used for ‘rules of etiquette’ (the semantic link is an intermediate sense ‘draft of a treaty or other diplomatic document’, which led to its use in French for the ‘department in charge of diplomatic etiquette’). It goes back via Old French prothocole and medieval Latin prōtocollum to Greek prōtókollon, a compound formed from prṓtos ‘first’ and kólla ‘glue’ which meant ‘flyleaf glued to the front of a book giving a list of its contents’.