LISP: [from `LISt Processing Language', But Mythically From `Lots Of Irritating Superfluous Parentheses'] N.

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:LISP: [from `LISt Processing language', but mythically from
`Lots of Irritating Superfluous Parentheses'] n. AI's mother
tongue, a language based on the ideas of (a) variable-length lists
and trees as fundamental data types, and (b) the interpretation of
code as data and vice-versa. Invented by John McCarthy at MIT in
the late 1950s, it is actually older than any other {HLL} still
in use except FORTRAN. Accordingly, it has undergone considerable
adaptive radiation over the years; modern variants are quite
different in detail from the original LISP 1.5. The dominant HLL
among hackers until the early 1980s, LISP now shares the throne
with {C}. See {languages of choice}.

All LISP functions and programs are expressions that return
values; this, together with the high memory utilization of LISPs,
gave rise to Alan Perlis's famous quip (itself a take on an Oscar
Wilde quote) that "LISP programmers know the value of everything
and the cost of nothing".

One significant application for LISP has been as a proof by example
that most newer languages, such as {COBOL} and {Ada}, are full
of unnecessary {crock}s. When the {Right Thing} has already
been done once, there is no justification for {bogosity} in newer
-- The AI Hackers Dictionary