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To parse, in computer science, is where a string of commands – usually a program – is separated into more easily processed components, which are analyzed for correct syntax and then attached to tags that define each component. The computer can then process each program chunk and transform it into machine language.
To parse is to break up a sentence or group of words into separate components, including the definition of each part's function or form. The technical definition implies the same concept.
Parsing is used in all high-level programming languages. Languages like C++ and Java are parsed by their respective compilers before being transformed into executable machine code. Scripting languages, like PHP and Perl, are parsed by a web server, allowing the correct HTML to be sent to a browser.