Definition of parse in US English:



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

    • ‘In analyzing some of the book's sections, we would have to parse each sentence!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The classicists must have been boring their mates with this fact every four years for as long as they could parse a 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.’
    • ‘Then, beginning readers learn to parse the printed word into graphemes and subsequently assign phonemes to the different graphemes.’
    • ‘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 it's important to note the placement of prepositions, how a phrase is parsed.’
    • ‘So instead to trying to parse the sentences as I read, I'm just reading.’
    • ‘To try to describe the story is a bit like parsing the grammatical structure of a joke.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I'm not sure I'm qualified to parse that sentence.’
    • ‘I don't know what every part does, but there is pleasure in trying to parse a sentence in a foreign language.’
    • ‘A grammarian would be challenged to parse that sentence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You can't parse the sentence that way without adding a missing to.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They can parse complex words and sentences; but this parsing takes more work than reading simpler, clearer prose.’
    • ‘But, of course, he offered no proof for this assertion, and is not known to be able to parse Arabic verbs.’
    • ‘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)).’
    • ‘Try as I might, I cannot parse that final sentence into anything like English.’
    1. 1.1Computing Analyze (a string or text) into logical syntactic components, typically in order to test conformability to a logical grammar.
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘To prove that it does, try manually parsing the input string such as we did above.’
      • ‘Chapter 10 finalizes the discussion of methods and tools repeatedly mentioned in earlier chapters to parse the XML documents.’
      • ‘Access may be provided through a DOM to a system with an addressable granularity of an XML document, by parsing the document.’
      • ‘For instance, although Perl makes it easy to parse delimited text files with regular expressions, OCaml provides tools specifically designed for writing a compiler.’
      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’
      • ‘With considerable forensic skill and with immense dedication, Lord Butler examined, weighed and parsed the intelligence.’
      • ‘His life has been studied, parsed, and analyzed by a host of academics, art historians, and psychoanalysts.’
      • ‘But these sorts of brouhahas inevitably descend to parsing.’
      • ‘Elaine Garan, an education professor at California State University, Fresno, has parsed through all three.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Our childhoods were mediated by a modern and professional consumer culture, which got better and better at parsing and fulfilling our desires.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Points were acknowledged, mulled, parsed and reincarnated over the course of the evening.’
      • ‘The latter would be much harder and time-consuming to parse than the former.’
      • ‘I just need some help parsing out the signals, trying to get a clear read on this situation.’
      • ‘Together, these functions allow users to seamlessly profile, analyze, parse, cleanse, match and household any type of customer information.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And they'll parse the words of the law to defend their right to solicit cases.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Once I parsed what this really meant I couldn't stop laughing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At a deeper level, however, it's just impossible to parse out well-justified motivations from poorly-justified motivations.’
      • ‘I don't have any trouble parsing out who this helps.’
      • ‘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.’


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

    • ‘The memory usage of a parse tree is the maximum number of incomplete nodes at any point in the parse.’
    • ‘Finally, print outputs the contents of the most recent parse by default.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In either case, we accept the parse as complete and error-free.’
    • ‘The parses are generated by running Eugene Charniak's statistical parser.’


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