tex·​tu·​al ˈteks-chə-wəl How to pronounce textual (audio)
: of, relating to, or based on a text
textually adverb

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Before the invention of the printing press, books were produced by hand. When the text of a book is copied this way, textual errors can creep in, and a text that's been copied again and again can contain many such errors. By comparing different copies of a work, textual critics try to figure out where the copyists went wrong and restore the text to its original form so that modern readers can again enjoy the correct versions of ancient texts. When a class performs textual analysis of a poem, however, they are looking closely at its individual words and phrases in an effort to determine the poem's meanings.

Examples of textual in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Caldwell says that while there’s scant textual evidence that describes actual surgical procedures from before Imperial Rome, the first-century-C.E. encyclopedist Aulus Cornelius Celsus does describe operations such as cutting for bladder stones and amputating limbs. Elizabeth Heath, Discover Magazine, 17 Feb. 2024 Create illustrations, change video styles, or even compose music based on textual descriptions. Ian Shepherd, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024 The film starts off as a straight homage to Herrington’s film peppered with one too many meta textual references. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Mar. 2024 The latest generation of artificial intelligence technology, including tools that let users almost instantly generate textual content, videos and audio, has been heralded as ushering in a new era of information by providing facts and analysis faster than a human can. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 27 Feb. 2024 Because not everything is a matter of textual interpretation, there is also a place for prudence and statesmanship in the judicial function. The Editors, National Review, 9 Feb. 2024 That being said, there's a certain textual playfulness from the book. EW.com, 17 Nov. 2023 The center of production is thought to have moved to the port of Tyre, although Dr. Schmitt said it could not be corroborated by primary sources, either textual or archaeological. Franz Lidz, New York Times, 5 Mar. 2024 Blue Lips is stocked with samples that feel both musical and textual. Mosi Reeves, Rolling Stone, 1 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'textual.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English textuel, from Medieval Latin textus text

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of textual was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near textual

Cite this Entry

“Textual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/textual. Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


tex·​tu·​al ˈteks-chə(-wə)l How to pronounce textual (audio)
: of, relating to, or based on a text

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