"parse" without direct object

Herb Stahlke hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 29 13:48:04 UTC 2009

The following appears in an article on today's WashingtonPost.com in
an article titled "For GOP, a case of misshapen identity":

Even the Purple guys want to parse as they unveil their new thing.

The expression "parse words," in the pejorative sense of making overly
fine distinction popular among right wing talk show hosts during the
Clinton impeachment investigations.  Ironically, Bill Clinton used
"parse" in the same sense during the recent campaign

"You can put it off a few days the problem is it's hard to reschedule
those things," Clinton said, "I presume he did that in good faith
since I know he wanted -- I remember he asked for more debates to go
all around the country and so I don't think we ought to overly parse
that." ( http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/09/bill-clinton-do.html)

This is the first time I  recall seeing "parse" used intransitively in
this sense.


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