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The Collaborative International Dictionary

parse \parse\ (p[aum]rs), v. t. [imp. & p. p. parsed (p[aum]rst); p. pr. & vb. n. parsing.] [L. pars a part; pars orationis a part of speech. See Part, n.] (Gram.) To resolve into its elements, as a sentence, pointing out the several parts of speech, and their relation to each other by government or agreement; to analyze and describe grammatically.

Let him construe the letter into English, and parse it over perfectly.


n. A parse operation. vb. (present participle of parse English)


Parsing or syntactic analysis is the process of analysing a string of symbols, either in natural language or in computer languages, conforming to the rules of a formal grammar. The term parsing comes from Latin pars (orationis), meaning part (of speech).

The term has slightly different meanings in different branches of linguistics and computer science. Traditional sentence parsing is often performed as a method of understanding the exact meaning of a sentence or word, sometimes with the aid of devices such as sentence diagrams. It usually emphasizes the importance of grammatical divisions such as subject and predicate.

Within computational linguistics the term is used to refer to the formal analysis by a computer of a sentence or other string of words into its constituents, resulting in a parse tree showing their syntactic relation to each other, which may also contain semantic and other information.

The term is also used in psycholinguistics when describing language comprehension. In this context, parsing refers to the way that human beings analyze a sentence or phrase (in spoken language or text) "in terms of grammatical constituents, identifying the parts of speech, syntactic relations, etc." This term is especially common when discussing what linguistic cues help speakers to interpret garden-path sentences.

Within computer science, the term is used in the analysis of computer languages, referring to the syntactic analysis of the input code into its component parts in order to facilitate the writing of compilers and interpreters. The term may also be used to describe a split or separation.

Usage examples of "parsing".

Traditionally this was done in High Khosali, in which the parsing of each sentence commented on the sentence before, the whole unrolling, ideally anyway, in as precise and rigorous terms as a mathematical statement.

Most humans managed the strange intonation and nasal vowels easily enough, but it took training to make proper use of the shifting syntax wherein the structure of each sentence makes a comment on the previous sentence, paragraph, or idea, and in one difficult parsing even makes a relation of the subject of the conversation to the state of the universe as a whole.