[pree-pros-es-er, -uh-ser or, esp. British, -proh-ses-er, -suh-ser]
noun Computers.
a program that performs some type of processing, as organization of data or preliminary computation, in advance of another program that will perform most of the processing.

1965–70; pre- + processor Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Computing Dictionary

preprocessor definition

A program that transforms input data in some way before it is read by the main program. In the case of a compiler, the input is source code. The main advantage of using a preprocessor is that it is possible to change the specification of the input data without changing the main program. The separation can also help to make the system's overall behaviour easier to understand. The disadvantage is that performance may be reduced by the extra input and output performed between the two programs.
For example, the C preprocessor, cpp, handles textual macro substitution (it acts as a "macro preprocessor"), conditional compilation and inclusion of other files.
A preprocessor may be used to transform a program into a simpler language, e.g. to transform C++ into C.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
Enable preprocessor macros to be expanded throughout the file.
Runs the fortran preprocessor on source files prior to compilation.
The preprocessor reads the hourly data and writes the same data to the output file.
Inc files, don't use preprocessor conditionals that test for individual platforms or compilers.
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