\ˈtekst \

Definition of text 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : the original words and form of a written or printed work

(2) : an edited or emended copy of an original work

b : a work containing such text

2a : the main body of printed or written matter on a page

b : the principal part of a book exclusive of front and back matter

c : the printed score of a musical composition

3a(1) : a verse or passage of Scripture chosen especially for the subject of a sermon or for authoritative support (as for a doctrine)

(2) : a passage from an authoritative source providing an introduction or basis (as for a speech)

b : a source of information or authority

4 : theme, topic

5a : the words of something (such as a poem) set to music

b : matter chiefly in the form of words or symbols that is treated as data for processing by computerized equipment text-editing software

6 : a type suitable for printing running text

7 : textbook

8a : something (such as a story or movie) considered as an object to be examined, explicated, or deconstructed

b : something likened to a text the surfaces of daily life are texts to be explicated— Michiko Kakutani

9 : frame of reference sense 2 updated to fit the women's lib text for consciousness raising— Judith Crist

10 : text message sent a text with the details


texted\ ˈtek-​stəd , nonstandard  ˈtekst \; texting

Definition of text (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to send a text message from one cell phone to another

intransitive verb

: to communicate by text messaging

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Other Words from text


texter noun

Synonyms for text

Synonyms: Noun

handbook, manual, primer, textbook

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Examples of text in a Sentence


A good critic will refer back to the text often. You can find the full text of his speech on his Web site. the text of the Constitution The book is mostly photographs—it has very little text. At this point the Web site is only text. Graphics will be added later. Students will read and discuss various literary texts.


I texted her a little while ago. I texted a message to her. She just texted me back.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Hurns confirmed via text that his was indeed the wide receiver getaway with Prescott, who hoped to bond with his new teammates as well as get on the field and develop some chemistry. Clarence E. Hill Jr., star-telegram, "Wishing upon a star: QB Dak Prescott working out, bonding with Cowboys WRs at Disney," 12 July 2018 In a press release, the Greek Culture Ministry says that the preliminary date of the text has been confirmed. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Oldest Greek Fragment of Homer Discovered on Clay Tablet," 11 July 2018 He and Young then exchanged a series of texts disagreeing about what the city manager should do. Dan Horn, Cincinnati.com, "Smitherman vs. Sittenfeld: Texting dispute snags Cincinnati's next mayoral hopefuls," 10 July 2018 This entire episode is about reading and interpreting, knowing and not knowing: This jacket’s brief message has drawn us all into the task of exegesis — the critical explanation of a text. Rhonda Garelick, The Cut, "The Jacket Heard Round the World," 22 June 2018 One example cited in the new document is an exchange of texts between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page on Aug. 8, 2016. Chris Strohm, Bloomberg.com, "Comey Was ‘Insubordinate’ in Clinton Probe, Inspector General Finds," 15 June 2018 Ian Furminger, who had exchanged thousands of texts with his fellow officers. Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, "SFPD’s texting scandal: Court rules officers can be disciplined for racist messages," 30 May 2018 However, his friends told investigators that Larry did not use emojis, which were present in the texts. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Woman wanted for grand theft goes missing after her husband dies with lethal levels of Benadryl in his system," 14 July 2018 The text also helped to assist the United States’ broader vision of promoting Islam and religious faith as a counter to Communist irreligiosity. Amanda Laugesen, Smithsonian, "This Cold War-Era Publishing House Wanted To Share American Values With the World," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

One night, Sierra receives a text message from Jamey, a popular jock, who mistakenly texts her instead of Veronica, the most popular girl in school. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything We Know About "Sierra Burgess is a Loser"," 2 Aug. 2018 People who text and drive, for example, are more than six times as likely to crash as those who don’t. Fredrick Kunkle, Washington Post, "Female drivers are more likely to use mobile phones behind the wheel, study finds," 10 July 2018 During the spring, Bamba worked out in Philadelphia with Embiid, who texted the Texas big man some advice during the season. Jenna West, SI.com, "Watch: Joel Embiid Dunks on Mo Bamba and Says 'Welcome to the F******* League'," 28 June 2018 Tips can also be given online at crime-stoppers.com, or by texting TIP610 to CRIMES (274637). Stephen Tucker Paulsen, Houston Chronicle, "Police share video in hopes of nabbing robber," 27 June 2018 Such is the case for Robi Calloway, 21, and her group of 15-plus high school friends who still text each other phrases from their favorite Vines. Madeline Buxton, refinery29.com, "Vine Is Dead, But The Internet Is Determined To Keep It Alive," 21 June 2018 This figure is essentially unchanged from the 41 percent who texted or emailed while driving in 2013. Karen Kaplan, Anchorage Daily News, "U.S. teens taking fewer risks with health, though drinking and unsafe sex still common," 14 June 2018 This figure is essentially unchanged from the 41% who texted or emailed while driving in 2013. Karen Kaplan, latimes.com, "U.S. teens are taking fewer risks with their health, though drinking and unsafe sex are still common," 14 June 2018 Entergy Customers should sign up for text alerts by texting REG to 368374 or downloading the free Entergy app at entergyapp.com. Ben Estes, NOLA.com, "How New Orleans is preparing for Alberto," 26 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'text.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of text


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


1998, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for text


Middle English, from Anglo-French tiste, texte, from Medieval Latin textus, from Latin, texture, context, from texere to weave — more at technical

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Statistics for text

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for text

The first known use of text was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for text



English Language Learners Definition of text

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the original words of a piece of writing or a speech

: the words that make up the main part of a book, magazine, newspaper, Web site, etc.

: a book or other piece of writing; especially : one that is studied



English Language Learners Definition of text (Entry 2 of 2)

: to send someone a text message



Kids Definition of text

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the actual words of an author's work

2 : the main body of printed or written matter on a page

3 : textbook

4 : a Bible passage that is the subject of a sermon


texted; texting

Kids Definition of text (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to send (someone) a text message

2 : to communicate by text messaging

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Comments on text

What made you want to look up text? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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