Skip to main content

parse tree

parse tree (syntax tree) A tree defining the syntactic structure of a sentence in a context-free language. The interior nodes are labeled by nonterminals of the context-free grammar; the descendants of a node labeled by A, say, spell from left to right the right-hand side of some production having left-hand side A. The leaf nodes of a parse tree may be terminals or nonterminals. If all the leaves are terminals then they spell from left to right a sentence of the language.

An example of a parse tree is shown in the diagram. It is assumed that the grammar in question has productions ABC, Bb, Ccc

Note that it is conventional for the top of the tree to be its root and the bottom to be its leaves.

An early stage in compiling a program usually consists of generating a parse tree in which the constructs that make up the program are expressed in terms of the syntax of the programming language.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"parse tree." A Dictionary of Computing. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"parse tree." A Dictionary of Computing. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/computing/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/parse-tree

"parse tree." A Dictionary of Computing. . Retrieved October 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/computing/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/parse-tree

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.