subtext

play
noun sub·text \ˈsəb-ˌtekst\

Definition of subtext

  1. :  the implicit or metaphorical meaning (as of a literary text)

subtextual

play \ˌsəb-ˈteks-chə-wəl, -chəl\ adjective

subtextually

adverb

Did You Know?

A literary text often has more than one meaning: the literal meaning of the words on the page, and their hidden meaning, what exists "between the lines"—the subtext. Arthur Miller's play The Crucible, for example, is about the Salem witchcraft trials of the 17th century, but its subtext is the comparison of those trials with the "witch hunts" of the 1950s, when many people were unfairly accused of being communists. Even a social conversation between a man and a woman may have a subtext, but you may have to listen very closely to figure out what it is. Don't confuse subtext with subplot, a less important plot that moves along in parallel with the main plot.

1862

First Known Use of subtext

1862



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