\ ˈpärs How to pronounce parse (audio) , chiefly British ˈpärz \
parsed; parsing

Definition of parse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : 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 (see inflection sense 2a) and syntactical relationships
2 : to examine in a minute way : analyze critically having trouble parsing … explanations for dwindling market shares— R. S. Anson

intransitive verb

1 : to give a grammatical description of a word or a group of words
2 : to admit of being parsed



Definition of parse (Entry 2 of 2)

: a product or an instance of parsing

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.

Examples of parse in a Sentence

Verb Students were asked to parse the sentence. Economists parsed the census data.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the weeks ahead, experts will be looking at three key pieces of data to parse the remaining hypotheses. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 13 May 2022 Here, again, memory and reality prove difficult to parse. Chadd Scott, Forbes, 1 May 2022 In this episode of The Gaggle, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, reporters Jimmy Jenkins and Robert Anglen join host Ron Hansen to parse through what's next for the County Attorney's Office. Kaely Monahan, The Arizona Republic, 27 Apr. 2022 While immersed in this home to beaches, businesses, retirees and spring breakers, Bourdain attempts to parse through all of it to uncover what really makes Miami tick. Foren Clark, CNN, 6 Apr. 2022 And in those lapses and pauses, the Western world has had an opportunity to assess and parse its capacity for empathy. Washington Post, 2 Mar. 2022 The loglines for each episode, the official descriptions, are enigmatic and difficult to parse. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2022 Some of the discussion of Muslim conservatism and its role in the schools can be hard to parse, with anecdotal accounts that shift depending on who’s explaining them. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, 20 Mar. 2022 That distinction is hard to parse, especially when the Pentagon is also saying that the Ukrainians don’t need the jets because their other weapons are more effective. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 10 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Continuing to build our machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities in-house and transforming the format of a loom to be faster-to-parse, friendlier, and more useful. Steven Li, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 There’s a mosaic passage each for curiosity, an open mind, and an appreciation of a sixth sense helping us decipher mysteries or parse dilemmas. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 17 Feb. 2022 Right now, companies obscure that fact in tough-to-parse privacy agreements. Washington Post, 21 July 2021 More details are also likely to emerge in the days to come, as reporters and the public parse the tome. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, 22 Dec. 2020 Short videos, about a minute long each, introduce a variety of concepts in easy-to-parse, kid-friendly ways. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, 19 Apr. 2020 Recent advances in natural language processing—an AI technique that helps machines parse, interpret, and generate text—have proven especially power-hungry. Will Knight, Wired, 21 Jan. 2020 But those take the form of long, difficult-to-parse tax documents, and crafty philanthropists can get around these requirements by starting up offshore foundations. Dylan Matthews, Vox, 20 Dec. 2018 An inversion of that history, in which Americans practice aikido or grow fluent in Japanese social customs in order to get by, is fascinating to watch the show parse. Karen Han, Vox, 6 Oct. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'parse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of parse


circa 1568, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1963, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for parse

Verb and Noun

Latin pars orationis part of speech

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Time Traveler for parse

Time Traveler

The first known use of parse was circa 1568

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Dictionary Entries Near parse

Parry pinyon



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Statistics for parse

Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Parse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on parse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for parse

Nglish: Translation of parse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of parse for Arabic Speakers


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