a : to divide (a sentence) into grammatical parts and identify the parts and their relations to each other
b : to describe (a word) grammatically by stating the part of speech and explaining the inflection and syntactical relationships
– Merriam Webster
What? There’s no third and fourth meanings, along these lines?
c: to get the meaning of words laid out in a nonstandard order
d: to get the meaning of a word constructed of two or more words by correctly breaking it into the component words
With respect to Mssrs. Merriam and Webster, I believe these activities, so much in demand in the modern world, ought to be called parsing.
For the former meaning I offer the quintessential example: the Automatic Caution Door.
For the latter, I offer a sign I saw recently on the back of a truck.
I admit I was intrigued by the concept of an idea lease.
Don’t rent ideas: Lease them, to save money!
Don’t buy ideas: Lease them, to save owning outmoded ones!
But as I overtook the truck, I saw another sign on the side: Truck Leasing.
Ah. Some graphics/logo/branding wonk had decided to trust to the public’s ability to correctly parse this construction into its component parts: IDEAL LEASE.
Sigh. Not, perhaps, the idealayout.