|Noun||1.||bootstrap - a strap that is looped and sewn to the top of a boot for pulling it on|
|Verb||1.||bootstrap - help oneself, often through improvised means|
|1.||(operating system)||bootstrap - (From "to pull oneself up by one's
bootstraps") To load and initialise the operating system on
a computer. Normally abbreviated to "boot".|
See bootstrap loader.
|2.||(compiler)||bootstrap - (From "to pull oneself up by one's bootstraps")
to use a compiler to compile itself.|
The usual process is to write an interpreter for a language, L, in an existing language, M. The compiler is then written in L and the interpreter is used to run it. This produces an executable for compiling programs in L from the source of the compiler in L.
This technique is often used to verify the correctness of a compiler. It was first used in the LISP community.
See also my favourite toy language.