What is JSONP, and why was it created?

I understand JSON, but not JSONP. Wikipedia’s document on JSON is (was) the top search result for JSONP. It says this:

JSONP or “JSON with padding” is a JSON extension wherein a prefix is specified as an input argument of the call itself.

Huh? What call? That doesn’t make any sense to me. JSON is a data format. There’s no call.

The 2nd search result is from some guy named Remy, who writes this about JSONP:

JSONP is script tag injection, passing the response from the server in to a user specified function.

I can sort of understand that, but it’s still not making any sense.


So what is JSONP? Why was it created (what problem does it solve)? And why would I use it?


Addendum: I’ve just created a new page for JSONP on Wikipedia; it now has a clear and thorough description of JSONP, based on jvenema‘s answer.

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