\ 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, nonstandardˈtekst \; 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

Making him read his own texts Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. Aaron Blake, chicagotribune.com, "7 key moments from FBI agent's Peter Strzok's wild House hearing," 12 July 2018 But this will be Strzok’s first public testimony in front of Congress since the revelations about his texts. Alex Ward, Vox, "How to watch FBI agent Peter Strzok’s testimony in front of Congress," 12 July 2018 The revision text is silent on who or what will have such authority. Mary Ellen Klas, miamiherald, "Lawsuit challenges education amendment, seeks to remove it from Florida’s ballot," 12 July 2018 Austen only finished eleven chapters of the story, but her original text has been extended into an eight-part miniseries by screenwriter Andrew Davies. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Jane Austen's Unfinished Novel Sanditon Is Heading to TV," 11 July 2018 Most people download apps on their phones without much thought to the ways their texts, photos, and voice calls might be shared. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "Your Android Apps Are (Probably) Not Snooping on You, a New Study Says," 3 July 2018 When his anti-Trump texts were discovered, Mueller removed him from the investigation into Russia meddling, whether anyone close to Trump colluded in it and whether Trump sought to obstruct the probe. Billy House, Bloomberg.com, "FBI's Strzok Says He'll Testify to Congress on Anti-Trump Texts," 18 June 2018 The app Rakowski is working on will be text-based, featuring personal ads as the jumping off point for dating or community building. Lainey Seyler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Personals Instagram account is helping queer women in Wisconsin and beyond find love and community, no swiping required," 15 June 2018 Edit your text approximately 1,000 times before sending it to your crush. Jelani Addams Rosa, Seventeen, "19 Gross AF Secret Things Every Girl Does But Will Never Admit," 13 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Diolamou also texted the man to convey the victim’s address, physical appearance and car description, according to court papers. Dan Morse, Washington Post, "Target of murder-for-hire plot tries to laugh away bargain-based price tag: ‘Insulting to be sure’," 13 July 2018 Late that morning, Doocey texted Weyeneth, according to copies shared by Weyeneth. Robert O'harrow Jr., Anchorage Daily News, "Promoted six times and then fired: A 24-year-old political appointee's wild ride in Trump's Washington," 15 June 2018 That doesn’t mean taking players out to dinner or texting them at night. Dave Hyde, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hyde: Tannehill would be wise to hear what Landry, Pouncey said," 9 June 2018 My sisters texted me a photo of their twirls of long pasta doused in red sauce. Emily Schultz, Bon Appetit, "My 13 Summers of Red Sauce at Tony’s in Atlantic City," 6 June 2018 Just don’t take photos and text them to me at work. Heidi Stevens, chicagotribune.com, "Help wanted: Summer nanny to have all the fun I'd rather be having," 25 May 2018 But even some of my older sources (my peers, really) can sometimes text me at all hours. New York Times, "In Washington, a Brighter Spotlight on Technology," 9 May 2018 Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100 or text them at 443-902-4824, or call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-LOCK-UP. Kevin Rector, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore crime continues trending below 2017, though gunfire marred holiday weekend," 2 Apr. 2018 Investigators said Boggs was texting at the time of the crash and later tried to alter or delete the text messages. Evan Macdonald, cleveland.com, "Woman pleads guilty in Coventry Township crash that killed two 14-year-old girls," 30 Mar. 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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Phrases Related to text

set book/text

set texts

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Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for text

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

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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


\ ˈtekst \

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).


the setting in which something occurs

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