What is parsing?

This is not a pipe.

This is not the painting entitled “The Treachery of Images” by Rene Margritte.

This is an image of the painting “The Treachery of Images” by Rene Margritte.

123.45

This is not a number.

This is a piece of text containing numerals, symbols which have numeric values associated with them, each individually, and also together as a whole.

Parsing is the process of interpreting the representation of an idea to get at the idea itself.