\ ˈtekst How to pronounce text (audio) \

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 How to pronounce texted (audio) , 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

Even then, the book was much stronger in assertion than backup documentation, and its 232-page length was padded with the text of Clinton’s convention acceptance speech. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Arguing the World," 15 Aug. 2019 Westfield leaders always intended to have the text visible in both directions, Duncan Gardner said. Natalia E. Contreras, Indianapolis Star, "Carmel will pay to add its name to Westfield's welcome sign," 13 Aug. 2019 The text was accompanied by an image of Pepe the Frog, an internet meme that is popular among far-right internet trolls. NBC News, "4chan user posted about Jeffrey Epstein's death before it was public," 13 Aug. 2019 Here’s the full text of letter: Technology platforms promised us connection, access, and democracy but instead are radicalizing and fragmenting communities by providing an unprecedented ability to coordinate attacks and amplify hate. Shirin Ghaffary, Vox, "After the El Paso and Gilroy shootings, tech leaders are saying platforms must stop amplifying hate speech," 13 Aug. 2019 Peace in the empire A timeless source of wisdom, and therefore possible mantras, is the Tao Te Ching, the Chinese philosophical text. Ephrat Livni, Quartzy, "Use these mantras to start, power through, and finish your day," 10 Aug. 2019 Whatever the case, the texts cover some of the same territory found in 1913’s Swann’s Way, the first book in In Search of Lost Time, which follows a narrator’s memories of his life and childhood, and delves into his philosophical musings. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Nine Newly Discovered Proust Stories to Be Published," 6 Aug. 2019 The texts revealed conversations between Meyer and Smith in January 2018, insinuating that Saban had already offered Smith a position after the 2017 season. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Nick Saban: Alabama Passed on Zach Smith Hire After Background Check," 3 Aug. 2019 The text includes a reference to the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, which left 51 people dead. CBS News, "What we know about the El Paso shooting suspect," 3 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In other words, cheating is nothing new, and students have been taking notes on their devices, getting notifications during tests, texting their friends for answers and sending photos of exams to their classmates for years. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Students are still using tech to cheat on exams, but things are getting more advanced," 16 Aug. 2019 In his unit upstairs, Horace settled in and then texted Wendy, who had taken a bus to her work, with a video of the apartment. Los Angeles Times, "Broadway Place’s homeless residents were promised homes. Had the city forgotten them?," 15 Aug. 2019 Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times The gunman in last week’s massacre in Dayton, Ohio, texted his sister and another victim minutes before the shooting, the Dayton Police Department said in a news conference on Tuesday. Adeel Hassan, New York Times, "Dayton Gunman Shot 26 People in 32 Seconds, Police Timeline Reveals," 13 Aug. 2019 Even minor characters—like the dead-eyed, constantly texting office manager, Stacy, played with droll lassitude by Salahuddin’s sister Zuri—have their own story arcs and funny quirks. Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker, "“Sherman’s Showcase” Celebrates a Lost TV Genre," 12 Aug. 2019 Court records show that Bowen texted Swartz in 2017 following a rock-throwing incident. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Arizona border agent pleads guilty to intentionally running over migrant near Nogales," 12 Aug. 2019 The driver was also texting up until the teen exited the bus, the paper reported. Fox News, "North Carolina police investigating whether school bus driver helped coordinate shooting at teen," 31 July 2019 Meanwhile, Republicans prepared questions about Peter Strzok, the former FBI employee who texted anti-Trump text messages, and Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer whose opposition research dossier was a mixed bag. Madeleine Joung, Time, "Robert Mueller Is Testifying Before the House. Here's Everything to Know," 24 July 2019 Also in ’16, his first year as foreign minister, Johnson was ridiculed for texting on his cellphone throughout Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. Cnaan Liphshiz, sun-sentinel.com, "Five Jewish things to know about Boris Johnson," 24 July 2019

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

19 Aug 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on text

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with text

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for text

Spanish Central: Translation of text

Nglish: Translation of text for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of text for Arabic Speakers

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).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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