Definition of parse in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Analyze (a sentence) into its parts and describe their syntactic roles.

    • ‘The classicists must have been boring their mates with this fact every four years for as long as they could parse a sentence.’
    • ‘They can parse complex words and sentences; but this parsing takes more work than reading simpler, clearer prose.’
    • ‘To try to describe the story is a bit like parsing the grammatical structure of a joke.’
    • ‘We can parse the first sentence in two ways, but we naturally assume that Groucho meant to say that (he in his pyjamas) (shot (an elephant)).’
    • ‘They parse sentences until a parable's plot crumbles into fragments, or they so domesticate the narratives that they become little more than helpful hints for daily living.’
    • ‘Then, beginning readers learn to parse the printed word into graphemes and subsequently assign phonemes to the different graphemes.’
    • ‘I'm sure there will be a generous amount of worthies stepping forward to parse every sentence, on the eternal quest for the definitive admission that it's over.’
    • ‘Try as I might, I cannot parse that final sentence into anything like English.’
    • ‘I don't know what every part does, but there is pleasure in trying to parse a sentence in a foreign language.’
    • ‘So instead to trying to parse the sentences as I read, I'm just reading.’
    • ‘But it's important to note the placement of prepositions, how a phrase is parsed.’
    • ‘In analyzing some of the book's sections, we would have to parse each sentence!’
    • ‘You don't have to parse the sentences or measure vowel formants or anything time consuming, so the empirical part of the research just took a few minutes.’
    • ‘But I learned how to parse a sentence, what the base pairs of DNA were, and I can still remember most of my French irregular verbs.’
    • ‘But the benefit might be limited to just an enhanced ability to signal process sounds and may not carry over at all into enhanced ability to parse sentences and understand, say, written language.’
    • ‘A grammarian would be challenged to parse that sentence.’
    • ‘I know you tried to clarify it by repeating the word ‘strange’ and, if I have parsed the sentence correctly, that does seem to be the connection.’
    • ‘But, of course, he offered no proof for this assertion, and is not known to be able to parse Arabic verbs.’
    • ‘I'm not sure I'm qualified to parse that sentence.’
    • ‘You can't parse the sentence that way without adding a missing to.’
    1. 1.1Computing Analyze (a string or text) into logical syntactic components, typically in order to test conformability to a logical grammar.
      • ‘Chapter 10 finalizes the discussion of methods and tools repeatedly mentioned in earlier chapters to parse the XML documents.’
      • ‘For instance, although Perl makes it easy to parse delimited text files with regular expressions, OCaml provides tools specifically designed for writing a compiler.’
      • ‘After that, I'll need to adjust the ‘newsletter delivery’ program so that it can read and parse the new newsletter layout (in HTML format).’
      • ‘Access may be provided through a DOM to a system with an addressable granularity of an XML document, by parsing the document.’
      • ‘To prove that it does, try manually parsing the input string such as we did above.’
      interpret, understand, read, see, take, take to mean, render, analyse, explain, elucidate, gloss, decode
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Examine or analyze minutely.
      ‘he has always been quick to parse his own problems in public’
      • ‘And they'll parse the words of the law to defend their right to solicit cases.’
      • ‘I think, as Jim said, the issue is the White House was very broad in its denials, and now it's looking as though it is parsing exactly what they meant to cover.’
      • ‘The photograph can introduce us to experience, or at least events; it can also, and easily, separate us from the world, parse meaning, sever us from the past.’
      • ‘His life has been studied, parsed, and analyzed by a host of academics, art historians, and psychoanalysts.’
      • ‘The latter would be much harder and time-consuming to parse than the former.’
      • ‘Our childhoods were mediated by a modern and professional consumer culture, which got better and better at parsing and fulfilling our desires.’
      • ‘I don't have any trouble parsing out who this helps.’
      • ‘What shows are they parsing exactly and do they do profanities?’
      • ‘Those steps include researching the strategic environment, determining policy goals, parsing and integrating the mission, and assessing effects.’
      • ‘With considerable forensic skill and with immense dedication, Lord Butler examined, weighed and parsed the intelligence.’
      • ‘Points were acknowledged, mulled, parsed and reincarnated over the course of the evening.’
      • ‘It was as far as discussing this any further with the press, he did discuss it with law enforcement and I'm not going to parse what the police chief has said.’
      • ‘Once I parsed what this really meant I couldn't stop laughing.’
      • ‘Together, these functions allow users to seamlessly profile, analyze, parse, cleanse, match and household any type of customer information.’
      • ‘But these sorts of brouhahas inevitably descend to parsing.’
      • ‘Sometimes the first item is put first because it's more important, but sometimes it's put first because something has to come first, or because for whatever reason the provision parses better that way.’
      • ‘I haven't, as I say, parsed all these poems as yet, but I've folded up my critical tent and caravanned with them, intrigued by new vistas.’
      • ‘At a deeper level, however, it's just impossible to parse out well-justified motivations from poorly-justified motivations.’
      • ‘I just need some help parsing out the signals, trying to get a clear read on this situation.’
      • ‘Elaine Garan, an education professor at California State University, Fresno, has parsed through all three.’


  • An act of or the result obtained by parsing a string or a text.

    • ‘Finally, print outputs the contents of the most recent parse by default.’
    • ‘The parses are generated by running Eugene Charniak's statistical parser.’
    • ‘In either case, we accept the parse as complete and error-free.’
    • ‘There were people who knew there were problems with the parse, but they weren't security people, so they didn't know it was a security problem.’
    • ‘The memory usage of a parse tree is the maximum number of incomplete nodes at any point in the parse.’


Mid 16th century: perhaps from Middle English pars ‘parts of speech’, from Old French pars ‘parts’ (influenced by Latin pars ‘part’).