Definition of text in English:

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Pronunciation: /tɛkst/


1A book or other written or printed work, regarded in terms of its content rather than its physical form: a text which explores pain and grief
More example sentences
  • My initial impression upon reading the title of this book was that a text had finally been written for the layman on how to draw and sketch mineral specimens.
  • The Clinic is throwing its doors open to the general public for conserving ancient documents, texts and even damaged books with an offer for protecting them for at least one more century to come.
  • Having been orally preserved by scholars after the first Qin Emperor destroyed the Confucian books, the texts had been written down in the new Han script current at the time of their recovery.
written work, book, work, printed work, narrative
1.1A piece of written or printed material regarded as conveying the authentic or primary form of a particular work: in some passages it is difficult to establish the original text
More example sentences
  • But then, arrogantly assuming that few will actually visit the original text, he goes right ahead and borrows heavily from his cited source.
  • Other tale-tellers repeated tales identical to Perrault's text word for word.
  • Given that McKinnon claims to be a victim of sloppy journalism, I thought it would be useful to go straight to the source: the text of his address.
1.2 [mass noun] Written or printed words, typically forming a connected piece of work: stylistic features of journalistic text
More example sentences
  • This is a pocket-sized volume running to 130 pages and probably no more than 40,000 words of text.
  • It's the first phase in my experiment of editing a dense piece of academic print text for the Web, and I actually posted it at the end of April, but only mentioned it in passing.
  • I create an edition that's about 15,000 words of text.
1.3 [mass noun] Computing Data in the form of words or alphabetic characters.
Example sentences
  • For my purposes, clearly displaying a lot of text at relatively small font sizes is the most important thing I want a monitor to do.
  • For example, one of IBM's patents is on the idea of marking text in a word-processor in different colors for correcting.
  • This new version offers powerful control over the display and formatting of text.
2 [in singular] The main body of a book or other piece of writing, as distinct from other material such as notes, appendices, and illustrations: the pictures are clear and relate well to the text
More example sentences
  • In addition, Braund has appended to the text 614 notes, some of which are more than forty lines.
  • The text of the book is preceded by a note in which Harris presents an uncharacteristically direct statement about his ideas and how they are to be understood in his work.
  • Nevertheless, she lays out a clear design for the text and illustrations without losing much by the exclusion of an index.
words, wording;
subject matter, content, contents, body, main body, main matter
2.1A script or libretto.
Example sentences
  • There are laughs to be had from the updated text, and Shakespeare's basic story is as entertaining as ever.
  • The text calls for a curtain to be drawn, revealing with fine theatricality the living Hermione posing as her statue.
  • This is the only blemish in a breathtaking production that is based on a vividly theatrical response to the text.
transcript, script
3A written work chosen or set as a subject of study: too much concentration on set texts can turn pupils against reading
More example sentences
  • In the Australian study at least, the books are clearly the primary text with many people re-reading them in preparation for their film viewing.
  • Last Stand at Mobile possesses many of the qualities of a fine teaching text.
  • At home, they studied these texts in detail, and Judith subsequently translated some of them into rhythmic French prose.
3.1A textbook: an organic chemistry text
More example sentences
  • In their screenings of Ienaga's texts, the Textbook Authorisation Council exposed its conviction that the purpose of history education was to create patriotic citizens.
  • Someone must have been there at 5am ready to buy all the coffee stained English texts.
  • Some like to learn from texts and workbooks; others are more kinesthetic and need to have their ‘hands on’ what they are doing.
textbook, book;
set book, set text
3.2A passage from the Bible or other religious work, especially when used as the subject of a sermon.
Example sentences
  • The first is that all the readings of texts and the sermons have been provided by biblical specialists, attempting to read theologically.
  • When it comes to a religious text, the translator could have some pre-conceived ideas which make him interpret certain texts in a certain way, but this could be mistaken.
  • Bartlett's Good Friday sermon on a Johannine text demonstrates well how preaching may be shaped by a particular understanding of the good news.
passage, extract, quotation, verse, line;
reading, lesson
3.3A subject or theme for a discussion or exposition: he took as his text the fact that Australia is paradise
More example sentences
  • In the text of the discussion, we find the following exchange.
  • He is concerned with selected, representative texts and themes.
  • Is there a particular scene that you could use as a text for such a discussion?
theme, subject, topic, issue, point, motif;
thesis, argument
4A text message: just give us a call or send us a text
More example sentences
  • The new system lets you send texts to any cellphone in Britain for 12p, and it receives messages free.
  • You haven't replied any of my emails, texts, voicemails or anything.
  • The product manages phone calls, webcam, emails, texts and instant messaging in one place on a PC, with multi-way video calls expected to be added in 2005.
5 (also text-hand) [mass noun] Fine, large handwriting, used especially for manuscripts.


[with object]
Send (someone) a text message: if she was going to go she would have texted us (as noun texting) his father banned him from texting and confiscated the phone
More example sentences
  • My ex-boyfriend wouldn't even answer his phone and he never texted me back.
  • Teenager Hina Khan likes loud music, chatting in class, watching TV and texting her school pals.
  • He started texting her and they talked on the telephone for about a month.



Example sentences
  • Rich Ling, a sociologist working for Telenor, a Norwegian telecommunications company, has interviewed thousands of mobile-phone texters, and he has noticed that they actually feel more disconnected from the world around them.
  • What dedicated texter hasn't suffered an epic misunderstanding, or experienced a sick lurch of fear upon dispatching a message of sensitive character to the wrong recipient?
  • Britain's speedy fingered texters sent on average 45 million texts every day last year.


Example sentences
  • I want my imagery to be as physical and immediate as possible, and textless, filmic progressions of still images offer a more sculptural form, and a deeper psychological experience.
  • Last Supper is virtually textless, relying upon sound - rather than words - and elaborately constructed images to invite the audience to participate in a dreamlike investigation of fulfillment.
  • Lastly, I would like to consider some of the small, textless images at the gallery, representations of individual women that make their point in both visual and conceptual terms.


Late Middle English: from Old Northern French texte, from Latin textus 'tissue, literary style' (in medieval Latin, 'Gospel'), from text- 'woven', from the verb texere.

  • A text is created when words are woven together, and the term goes back ultimately to Latin texere ‘to weave’, also the source of texture (Late Middle English) which originally meant ‘a woven fabric’, textile (early 17th century), and context (Late Middle English). Text is a good example of how words develop new meanings in response to changes in the world. It is associated with the most traditional forms of the written word, but technological changes have introduced text messaging. You might think that the verb text (as in ‘I'll text you when I get back’) has only been in the language a short time, but here is Shakespeare using the word 400 years ago in the context of inscribing something on a gravestone in large or capital letters: ‘Yea and text underneath, here dwells Benedick the married man’ (Much Ado about Nothing).

Words that rhyme with text

next, oversexed, sext, undersexed

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: text

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