Protocol is most often used when talking about the rules of government or official agencies. It is derived from the French and refers to the correct rules of etiquette for diplomats.

The term protocol is used in many areas besides diplomatic ones. School marching bands or college admissions offices follow protocols, and doctors use them to treat patients with specific conditions. In tech circles, a protocol is a set of standards that programmers follow so that their work can be decoded by other computers. The p in the http of a web address is short for protocol. Without this type of protocol, you would not be able to read this page.

Definitions of protocol
  1. noun
    forms of ceremony and etiquette observed by diplomats and heads of state
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    type of:
    rules governing socially acceptable behavior
  2. noun
    code of correct conduct
    “safety protocols
    “academic protocol
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    type of:
    code of behavior, code of conduct
    a set of conventional principles and expectations that are considered binding on any person who is a member of a particular group
  3. noun
    (computer science) rules determining the format and transmission of data
    synonyms: communications protocol
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    FTP, file transfer protocol
    protocol that allows users to copy files between their local system and any system they can reach on the network
    HTTP, hypertext transfer protocol
    a protocol (utilizing TCP) to transfer hypertext requests and information between servers and browsers
    MIDI, musical instrument digital interface
    a standard protocol for communication between electronic musical instruments and computers
    TCP, transmission control protocol
    a protocol developed for the internet to get data from one network device to another
    TCP/IP, transmission control protocol/internet protocol
    a set of protocols (including TCP) developed for the internet in the 1970s to get data from one network device to another
    anonymous file transfer protocol, anonymous ftp
    a common way to make software available; users are allowed to log in as `guest' without a password and copy whatever has been made available
    type of:
    prescript, rule
    prescribed guide for conduct or action
Word Family

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