v. parsed, pars·ing, pars·es
a. To break (a sentence) down into its component parts of speech with an explanation of the form, function, and syntactical relationship of each part.
b. To describe (a word) by stating its part of speech, form, and syntactical relationships in a sentence.
c. To process (linguistic data such as speech or written language) in real time as it is being spoken or read, in order to determine its linguistic structure and meaning.
a. To examine closely or subject to detailed analysis, especially by breaking up into components: "What are we missing by parsing the behavior of chimpanzees into the conventional categories recognized largely from our own behavior?" (Stephen Jay Gould).
b. To make sense of; comprehend: I simply couldn't parse what you just said.
3. Computers To analyze or separate (input, for example) into more easily processed components.
To admit of being parsed: sentences that do not parse easily.
[Probably from Middle English pars, part of speech, from Latin pars (ōrātiōnis), part (of speech); see perə-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.