1 a : to divide (a sentence) into grammatical parts and identify the parts and their relations to each other
b : to describe (a word) grammatically by stating the part of speech and explaining the inflection and syntactical relationships
2 : to examine in a minute way : analyze critically
3 : to give a grammatical description of a word or a group of words
4 : to admit of being parsed
Did You Know?
If parse brings up images of elementary school and learning the parts of speech, you’ve done your homework regarding this word. Parse comes from the first element of the Latin term for “part of speech,” pars orationis. It’s an old word that has been used since at least the mid-1500s, but it was not until the late 18th century that parse graduated to its extended, non-grammar-related sense of “to examine in a minute way; to analyze critically.” Remember this extended sense, and you’re really at the head of the class.
The lawyer meticulously parsed the wording of the final contract to be sure that her client would get all that he was asking for.
“AI technologies can be very useful when there’s enormous amounts of data to parse, and that data is patterned in a way that is either already known or which the AI can discover.” — Alexander García-Tobar, quoted in The San Francisco Business Times, 19 May 2020