What Does Compile Mean?

Compile refers to the act of converting programs written in high level programming language, which is understandable and written by humans, into a low level binary language understood only by the computer.


To compile, you need a compiler, which is a software program that converts high level programming language code into machine code.

Techopedia Explains Compile

The process of compilation consists of accessing the source code, written by the programmer, and performing a check to ensure nothing is ambiguous to the computer. Each and every programming language has a set of keywords that initiate a particular function. The order in which the keywords are used to form meaningful instructions understood by the computer is called syntax. The process of compilation also ensures that the syntax of the source code is correct. Then the source code is converted step by step into the machine language.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret 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 IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.