Legal Dictionary


Definition of protocol


  • \Pro"to*col\


    French protocole, Late Latin protocollum, from Greek [Πρωτόκολλο (Πρώτο+κολλάω)] the first leaf glued to the rolls of papyrus and the notarial documents, on which the date was written; prw^tos the first.


protocol (plural protocols)

  1. A rule, guideline, or document which guides how an activity should be performed.
  2. The original copy of any writing, as of a deed, treaty, dispatch, or other instrument.
  3. The minutes, or rough draft, of an instrument or transaction.
  4. (diplomacy) A preliminary document upon the basis of which negotiations are carried on.
  5. (diplomacy) A convention not formally ratified.
  6. (diplomacy) An agreement of diplomatists indicating the results reached by them at a particular stage of a negotiation.
  7. (computing) A set of formal rules describing how to transmit data, especially across a network. A message syntax or electrical specification and a description 2 or more communication nodes: finite state machines, the transition functions of which take messages or times as input and, when then so triggered, may themselves send messages.


to protocol (third-person singular simple present protocols, present participle protocoling, simple past and past participle protocoled)

  1. (obsolete), (transitive): To make a protocol of.
  2. (obsolete), (intransitive): To make or write protocols, or first drafts; to issue protocols.

Further reading

Protocol (diplomacy)

In international politics, protocol is the etiquette of diplomacy and affairs of state.

A protocol is a rule which guides how an activity should be performed, especially in the field of diplomacy. In diplomatic services and governmental fields of endeavor protocols are often unwritten guidelines. Protocols specify the proper and generally-accepted behavior in matters of state and diplomacy, such as showing appropriate respect to a head of state, ranking diplomats in chronological order of their accreditation at court, and so on. One definition is:

    Protocol is commonly described as a set of international courtesy rules. These well-established and time-honored rules have made it easier for nations and people to live and work together. Part of protocol has always been the acknowledgment of the hierarchical standing of all present. Protocol rules are based on the principles of civility.-Dr. P.M. Forni on behalf of the International Association of Protocol Consultants and Officers.

Protocol (politics)

Protocol can mean any logbook or other artifact (forged or authentic) of a political meeting between persons from different nations, such as the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. The most notorious example of a forged logbook is "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion".


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


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