1 of 2


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

transitive verb

: to divide (a sentence) into grammatical parts and identify the parts and their relations to each other
: to describe (a word) grammatically by stating the part of speech and explaining the inflection (see inflection sense 2a) and syntactical relationships
: to examine in a minute way : analyze critically
having trouble parsing … explanations for dwindling market sharesR. S. Anson

intransitive verb

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


2 of 2


: a product or an instance of parsing

Did you know?

If parse brings up memories of learning the parts of speech in school, you've done your homework regarding this word. Parsing sentences, after all, is part and parcel of learning to read and write. 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 1700s that parse graduated to its extended, non-grammar-related sense of "to examine in a minute way" or "to analyze critically." Remember this extended sense, and you'll really be 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
Then there’s the problem of trying to parse China’s intentions when its huge drills increasingly look like the first stage of an assault on Taiwan. Vic Chiang, Washington Post, 13 Nov. 2023 Everyone who follows the movie business has a different take, so parsing these ticket sales could take longer than the film’s daunting three-hour-and-26-minute run time. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 7 Nov. 2023 The easiest—and the least interesting—way to parse this unlikely film is to treat it as an allegory of the Internet. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 3 Nov. 2023 Previously, the team released a similar tool called Glaze, which disguises an artist’s style from A.I. tools trying to parse it. Teresa Nowakowski, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Nov. 2023 Even for users who want to opt out of ravenous data collection, privacy policies remain complicated and vague, and many users don’t have the time or knowledge of legalese to parse through them. WIRED, 1 Nov. 2023 These images are just the beginning of Euclid’s mission: By the end of this decade, the telescope will survey billions of galaxies like these, parsing over 15,000 square degrees—about one third of the sky—and looking back through 10 billion years of cosmic time. WIRED, 7 Nov. 2023 The mood in the market has darkened in October as investors have parsed a wave of earnings results from some of the biggest and most influential companies in America while navigating a punishing bond rout. WSJ, 27 Oct. 2023 Two recent books parse the dynamics of financial crises. Barry Eichengreen, Foreign Affairs, 24 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'parse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Noun

Latin pars orationis part of speech

First Known Use


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


1963, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of parse was circa 1568


Dictionary Entries Near parse

Cite this Entry

“Parse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


parsed; parsing
: to analyze a sentence by naming its parts and their relations to each other
: to give the part of speech of a word and explain its relation to other words in a sentence

More from Merriam-Webster on parse

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!