\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

At normal viewing distance on my 55-inch 4K TV, the Apple TV 4K version basically out-resolves my (good) eyesight; there are several scenes with text on computer monitors that I’d need to move closer to the TV to be able to read. Sam Byford, The Verge, "2001: A Space Odyssey’s 8K TV broadcast doesn’t quite go beyond the infinite," 3 Dec. 2018 To answer such a question, students must engage deeply with the text. Mathina Calliope, WSJ, "I Learned to Love Standardized Tests," 29 Nov. 2018 And for the more subtle decorators, there a slew of super-cute displays that are much more low-key. Check out these meddling mice, a simple trick or treat text, or this tribute to Edgar Allan Poe. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "These Halloween Stair Decals Will Instantly Transform Your Home Into a Haunted House," 7 Oct. 2018 The daily Le Soir's front page was black, with white text denouncing white attitudes to people of different ethnic backgrounds and foreigners. Fox News, "Belgium rocked by high-profile cases of racism," 7 Sep. 2018 Not only would a doula offer support during the birth itself, our doula’s services also included 24/7 availability by phone and text, both before and after the birth. Frances F. Denny, Harper's BAZAAR, "What People Don’t Tell You About Childbirth: The Realities of Vaginal Tearing," 16 July 2018 And the text, of course, is one of the essentials of Jewish theology. Harry Bruinius, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Plains, Ga., an evangelical politician like no other," 11 July 2018 After James' choice of L.A. was announced, Valentino's phone filled with texts from friends weighing in on the decision. Tom Withers, chicagotribune.com, "Cleveland hurting after LeBron chooses L.A., Lakers," 2 July 2018 The tone is sometimes serious but sometimes drifts to being a darkly humorous caper, with jaunty text sliding onto the screen announcing years and locations. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, "Review: ‘A Very English Scandal’ Is Very Good. And Scandalous.," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Twenty percent were texting friends or family members. Anne Kadet, WSJ, "What New Yorkers Are Doing With Their Eyes Glued to Their Cell Phones," 14 Aug. 2018 Credit card holders can also use Brex’s built-in expense management software, which can analyze spending by vendor and allows users to text images of their receipts in reply to expense notifications to link them. Jen Wieczner, Fortune, "Y Combinator's Favorite Credit Card Just Raised $50 Million from PayPal Founders," 19 June 2018 Howard texted a friend, Liam Malone, to alert him to the song. Rory Smith, New York Times, "How an Italian Disco Hit Became Liverpool’s Champions League Anthem," 23 May 2018 Scott used his fiance's phone to text his mother with a screenshot that showed his name, the No. Christopher Dabe, NOLA.com, "How Boston Scott, once considered too small for football, became a Saints' draft pick," 17 May 2018 The teens were able to text their mother and contact deputies while coaxing Lovell into stepping outside of the home. James Queally, latimes.com, "Man charged with killing L.A. sheriff's sergeant confessed to execution-style slaying, records show," 8 May 2018 So, at the movie, Muterspaugh kept his phone on — checking Twitter and texting his IU friends to get the scoop on Romeo’s college decision. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "Why Romeo Langford means so much to basketball in Indiana," 4 May 2018 The girl at first refused, court documents said, but then began to text London explicit photos. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "Portage assistant diving coach in court for sexual misconduct charges," 4 May 2018 Neither does never being the one to text first, or liking other girls' Insta pics, or bringing up your ex constantly (although that is definitely an effective way to prevent serious relationships). Sophia Benoit, GQ, "How to Tell Someone You Only Wanna Hook Up," 3 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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Last Updated

9 Dec 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



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 soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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