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mistletoe is a Markdown parser in pure Python, designed to be fast, spec-compliant and fully customizable.

This is a version of mistletoe maintained by the Excutable Book Project (EBP). It tracks the myst branch of ExecutableBookProject/mistletoe which eventually, it is hoped, will be merged into mistletoe itself.

Apart from being the fastest CommonMark-compliant Markdown parser implementation in pure Python, mistletoe also supports easy definitions of custom tokens. Parsing Markdown into an abstract syntax tree also allows us to swap out renderers for different output formats, without touching any of the core components.

Remember to spell mistletoe in lowercase!


  • Fast: mistletoe is the fastest implementation of CommonMark in Python, that is, 2 to 3 times as fast as Commonmark-py, and still roughly 30% faster than Python-Markdown. Running with PyPy yields comparable performance with mistune.

    See the performance section for details.

  • Spec-compliant: CommonMark is a useful, high-quality project. mistletoe follows the CommonMark specification to resolve ambiguities during parsing. Outputs are predictable and well-defined.

  • Extensible: Strikethrough and tables are supported natively, and custom block-level and span-level tokens can easily be added. Writing a new renderer for mistletoe is a relatively trivial task.

    You can even write a Lisp in it.

Some alternative output formats:

Why mistletoe?

“For fun,” says David Beazley.