Merriam-Webster definition of parse

Bob Haas highbob at MINDSPRING.COM
Fri Feb 18 00:48:51 UTC 2000

Such as?

4. Computer Science. To analyze or separate (input, for example) into more
easily processed components. Used of software.

This is from American Heritage.  I'm not a computer person, Andrea, but I've
heard the term used in a computer context.  I didn't get that your were
quizzing for that sense at all in your first post.  Sorry.

BTW, I first learned parse in reference to the explication of poetry, hand
in hand with scansion.


> From: "A. Vine" <avine at ENG.SUN.COM>
> Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 12:21:51 -0800
> Subject: Re: Merriam-Webster definition of parse
> Bob Haas wrote:
>> Not at all, Andrea.  Your understanding of parse is the first order of
>> definition in the American Heritage Dictionary.  I'm surprised that M-W
>> didn't specify grammar--I noticed that this morning in my Word of the Day
>> message--but the M-W definition does say something about breaking a sentence
>> down into its constituent parts, does it not?
> True, but I was referring to using "parse" for other things besides grammar.
> For example, I parse music when I hear it.  Computer programs parse protocol
> strings (one could argue this is grammar, but M-W didn't abstract the
> definition
> at all).  I also parse information.  Yes, I am examining it in a minute way,
> but
> I use parse to specifically indicate that I am breaking the information down
> into smaller pieces.  In project management, I parse a project into what are
> manageable chunks for me.
> Does anyone else use parse in this sense?

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