ur·​text ˈu̇r-ˌtekst How to pronounce urtext (audio)
: the original text (as of a musical score)

Examples of urtext in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Meryl Streep won an Oscar for her soul-bearing performance, serving as the urtext for the actress' ability to truly transform into her characters. Kevin Jacobsen, EW.com, 1 Aug. 2023 The not-so-straightforward legacy of the radio play was explored by Radiolab in 2013 and shortly after by On the Media in 2015, marking it as a kind of urtext with respect to the relationship between radio, fact, fiction, and the porous veil of collective reality. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, 2 Nov. 2022 The anti-Economicist urtext was published in 1944 by Karl Polanyi, an émigré Austrian socialist then teaching at Bennington. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 25 Oct. 2022 The urtext of film history that inspired the careers of dozens of film historians, including this one. Scott Eyman, WSJ, 20 Nov. 2020 Starring a slick-haired Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman at her most serene, Gattaca is a deserved cult classic, a highlight in the hubristic-humans-playing-God subgenre, the urtext for any discussion of the slippery slope toward eugenics. Darryn King, WIRED, 4 May 2018 First published in 1976, this is the classic, the urtext, the model for a memoir by an angry or repentant former political official. Peter Grier, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Apr. 2018 The Compleat Angler Published in 1653, Izaak Walton's treatise on fly-fishing and its pleasures is widely viewed as the sport's urtext. Jon Gluck, Popular Mechanics, 19 May 2017

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

Word History


German, from ur- ur- entry 3 + Text text

First Known Use

circa 1932, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of urtext was circa 1932

Dictionary Entries Near urtext

Cite this Entry

“Urtext.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/urtext. Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

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