\ 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

Antica Libreria Cascianelli, Rome, Italy The Rome bookstore, known for its heraldry and art history texts, has changed little since its founding in the 19th century. Vogue, "These Are the 6 Gucci-Approved Places to Travel in 2019," 22 Jan. 2019 And one victim expressed worries about the limousine’s safety in a text sent shortly before the crash, relatives and friends said. German Lopez, Vox, "The limousine crash in Schoharie, New York, is the deadliest transportation accident in the US since a plane crash in 2009.," 8 Oct. 2018 For now, the sign’s functionality is limited—the ring glows in a handful of animation patterns, and the sign’s text must be manually changed. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "The ‘For Sale’ sign gets a modern update," 19 July 2018 Though it was written in 1868, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women has become a seminal text for generations of women and girls. Sarah Nechamkin, The Cut, "Everything We Know About Greta Gerwig’s Little Women Adaptation," 5 July 2018 Some of the texts and photos were included in an Enquirer article last month that reported on Mr. Bezos’ alleged extramarital affair with Ms. Sanchez. Ken Thomas, WSJ, "Attorney for Tabloid Publisher Says Jeff Bezos Wasn’t Blackmailed," 10 Feb. 2019 At the same time, the image itself degraded, growing more compressed and watermarked with more layers of text scribbled out and written over again. Verge Staff, The Verge, "The best memes of 2018, according to The Verge staff," 27 Dec. 2018 Here's how the app works: Each lesson is composed of text, images, video, and audio, and takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "The FDA Thinks This App Could Help People With Opioid Use Disorder Stay in Recovery," 17 Dec. 2018 Is this the only museum dedicated to four pages of text? Juliet Izon, Country Living, "7 Patriotic Sights to Take In on the Ultimate Philadelphia Road Trip," 15 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

On February 15, 2017, four days after Philip Wise’s post had been published, Cunningham texted Tann. Alexander Huls, Popular Mechanics, "The Great Star Wars Heist," 7 Mar. 2019 To confirm whether a bus is coming or canceled, Metro travelers can text to 62550 and enter the number of the bus stop or shelter as the text message. Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times, "Metro buses still on reduced snow schedules while slush brings new driving risks," 12 Feb. 2019 According to court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Pitt, 54, must be allowed to have the cell phone number of each child, and can text and call with them without supervision from Jolie, 43. Mike Miller, PEOPLE.com, "Judge Declares Brad Pitt Should Be Allowed to Text Kids Without Supervision from Angelina Jolie," 13 June 2018 One of the agents was Peter Strzok, who is famous for his anti-Trump texts to his FBI paramour. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Flynn Entrapment," 12 Dec. 2018 Agent Peter Strzok had exchanged anti-Trump texts with FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Ken Dilanian /, NBC News, "FBI agent Peter Strzok said he was sorry for anti-Trump texts, say Democrats," 2 July 2018 And no matter what kind of technology brands like North Face or Marmot advertise, most bulky, ski-type gloves are terrible for texting. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "We Tried 50 Texting Gloves. Here are the Best Pairs," 12 Feb. 2019 Walgren played the audio for several friends but never texted or emailed it. Michael Tarm, The Seattle Times, "Court tosses lawsuit in Illinois sex-video suicide case," 22 Jan. 2019 Mobile phones and texting haven’t replaced the convenience and simplicity of two-way radios. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "How to Choose a Two-Way Radio," 10 Dec. 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

18 Mar 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).


the range of authority or knowledge

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