What Does Lisp Mean?

Lisp is a family of computer programming languages that originated in 1958 and has since undergone a number of changes and dialects. It is considered the second-oldest high-level programming language in use today, after Fortran.


The name "Lisp" is derived from "list processing," because linked lists are part of major data structures and the source code is made up of lists. Because of its origins, Lisp was originally considered an acronym and spelled "LISP."

Techopedia Explains Lisp

Initially, Lisp was designed to be used as a practical mathematical notation for computer programs. The language later gained popularity and was used further for conducting artificial intelligence research, primarily thanks to computer and cognitive scientist John McCarthy, who is generally credited with the invention of artificial intelligence.

The language has exhibited its usefulness over time. Lisp brought in many popular theoretical computer science ideas and concepts, such as automatic storage management, dynamic typing and the self-hosting compiler. Common Lisp and Scheme are two of the most popular practical specifications of Lisp that are still used for software/application development.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…