\ 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

And in the few instances where Ross uses text onscreen, the sentences are as carefully, elegantly structured as the images, carrying narrative and emotional weight that’s deeply affecting. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The 21 best movies of 2018," 14 Dec. 2018 Many texts weren’t just straight translations, but also included prefaces by notable intellectuals that explained the book’s relevance. Amanda Laugesen, Smithsonian, "This Cold War-Era Publishing House Wanted To Share American Values With the World," 13 July 2018 Bruce Klinck Ashlyn Burgett usually likes getting text messages, but then she was added to a group text chain with co-workers last fall, and the pictures started arriving. Te-ping Chen, WSJ, "Texting Moves to the Workplace, as Do the Awkward Misfires. ‘I’m Here. I Luv U.’," 17 Apr. 2019 The Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 crisis support by text. Terry Spencer, The Seattle Times, "Linked by pain: 2 school massacre survivors, dad kill selves," 26 Mar. 2019 Some say the history of hot cross buns dates to the 12th century, and Smithsonian Magazine traced text references back to the 16th. Country Living Staff, Country Living, "The Best Hot Cross Buns Recipe to Make This Easter," 7 Mar. 2019 Others are incorporated into a text painting begun the following year. New York Times, "He Spoke Out During the AIDS Crisis. See Why His Art Still Matters.," 12 July 2018 Those watching the story can then type their questions into a text box in the sticker; questions asked by followers can be found in the bottom left hand corner where viewers can see who has viewed their story. Sarah Gray, Fortune, "Instagram's Questions Sticker Lets Story-Watchers Ask You Anything," 10 July 2018 In a 2013 interview with Complex, Ariana said that Jai broke up with her over text. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything You Need to Know About Ariana Grande's Love Life," 28 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

However, according to their Vogue interview, they’d actually been texting (and flirting) before the party, and Nick ended up heading over to Priyanka’s apartment after the gala to meet her mom. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Jonas Are Returning to Met Gala 2019 as a Married Couple," 29 Apr. 2019 Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom/Zuma Press Mr. Cisneros, who didn’t want to be interviewed until his race is called, has been texting with other Californians in close races as the count continues, said Democrat Harley Rouda. Joshua Jamerson, WSJ, "Orientation in Congress Is Meant for Winners. This Year, It’s Complicated.," 15 Nov. 2018 Carlson said Benevento suggested to him that the erratic driver might have been texting while driving. Shelley Murphy, BostonGlobe.com, "‘The fact that she could have been stopped that morning is heartbreaking’," 29 Apr. 2018 Students from Broward County schools can text FL to 741741. Terry Spencer, The Seattle Times, "Linked by pain: 2 school massacre survivors, dad kill selves," 26 Mar. 2019 One of those things has become the different use of punctuation in texting and social media. Ashley Carman, The Verge, "The way we text says a lot about our personality," 7 Nov. 2018 Cory McWilliams, a Wells Fargo customer in Houston, said that thieves had called him from a spoofed Wells Fargo number, fooled him into giving them authentication codes texted by the bank and then stole $1,000. Stacy Cowley, charlotteobserver, "Zelle, the banks' answer to Venmo, proves vulnerable to fraud," 23 Apr. 2018 As some of us know from television and others know from drunk-texting their colorist post-breakup, platinum hair tends to appear during a time of major personal shift. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," 5 Apr. 2019 The source went on to allege that the pair were reportedly texting. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Jordyn Woods's Mom Elizabeth Woods Commented on Kylie Jenner's Instagram," 3 Apr. 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

13 May 2019

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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


\ 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 strong desire or propensity

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