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syntactic sugar - The Jargon File

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syntactic sugar: n.

[coined by Peter Landin] Features added to a language or other formalism to make it ‘sweeter’ for humans, but which do not affect the expressiveness of the formalism (compare chrome). Used esp. when there is an obvious and trivial translation of the ‘sugar’ feature into other constructs already present in the notation. C's a[i] notation is syntactic sugar for *(a + i). “Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon.” — Alan Perlis.

The variants syntactic saccharin and syntactic syrup are also recorded. These denote something even more gratuitous, in that syntactic sugar serves a purpose (making something more acceptable to humans), but syntactic saccharin or syrup serve no purpose at all. Compare candygrammar, syntactic salt.


 
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