A computer programming term.

'To parse' means to make sense of something. A parser may read an input data stream \ file and break it up into its component parts. For example, 'parsing' an XML text file will separate its various sections into a data structure that can then be used by the rest of the software. This kind of thing is used extensively for reading configuration information.

Computers may 'parse' natural language commands feeding into it via a microphone. For example a speech-to-text application will parse natural speech and convert it into text that can either be stored in a file or displayed on a screen.

Compilers convert source code into machine code. To do so the parser within the compiler will break up the source code into its component parts.

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