A name (possibly followed by a formal argument list) that is equated to a text
or symbolic expression to which it is to be expanded (possibly with the
substitution of actual arguments) by a macro expander.
The term "macro" originated in early assemblers, which encouraged the use of
macros as a structuring and information-hiding device. During the early 1970s,
macro assemblers became ubiquitous, and sometimes quite as powerful and
expensive as HLLs, only to fall from favour as improving compiler technology
marginalised assembly language programming (see languages of choice). Nowadays
the term is most often used in connection with the C preprocessor, Lisp, or one
of several special-purpose languages built around a macro-expansion facility
(such as TeX or Unix's troff suite).
Indeed, the meaning has drifted enough that the collective "macros" is now
sometimes used for code in any special-purpose application control language
(whether or not the language is actually translated by text expansion), and for
macro-like entities such as the "keyboard macros" supported in some text editors
(and PC TSRs or Macintosh INIT/CDEV keyboard enhancers).
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