Definition of text in English:



  • 1A book or other written or printed work, regarded in terms of its content rather than its physical form.

    ‘a text which explores pain and grief’
    • ‘The forms of chronicle, fiction, narrative memoir and field study contribute to this text as a novel.’
    • ‘Worse still, whereas literature was once valued for the beauty of its language or its moral impact, the purpose of reading is now to deconstruct texts in terms of power relationships.’
    • ‘The original purpose of the Institutiones was the teaching of Latin to Greek speakers, as is shown by repeated references to classical Greek texts.’
    • ‘Chapter two reflects on how Alcott's text connects writing to the injuries of battle.’
    • ‘He's not only brilliant in law, he's an expert in historical research and has a huge library of medieval texts, even some in Old English and Occitan.’
    • ‘His interpretation of literary texts and memoirs, especially those from the nineteenth century, is masterful.’
    • ‘Brief introductions preface each text, which is printed in double columns on the page, and there is a full glossary at the end of the book.’
    • ‘Certainly, an introductory survey needs to account for these texts, summarise their content and aims, and use them referentially as an argument progresses.’
    • ‘I'm only reading Madison's text and connecting it to the debate about religion and government that exists today.’
    • ‘The medieval history of these islands is very old (we share that antiquity with the rest of Europe) and very well-documented in terms of texts.’
    • ‘Stocking brings new insights to the volumes by concentrating on the contents of the texts and how they reflect the shifting nature of anthropological thinking.’
    • ‘Thus, by the turn of the seventeenth century, material drawn from classical texts about Greek art and artists had become a familiar feature of art literature.’
    • ‘Having been orally preserved by scholars after the first Qin Emperor destroyed the Confucian books, the texts had been written down in the new Han script current at the time of their recovery.’
    • ‘In this way, African literary texts are often subjected to the sort of reading that seeks to elicit from them a portrait of something called the African world.’
    • ‘He considered it Menotti's finest text, and it is, indeed, a remarkable piece of work.’
    • ‘By 1603, all the primary texts of the classical-republican tradition were available in English translations.’
    • ‘In terms of character and content, these texts do not have much in common.’
    • ‘My initial impression upon reading the title of this book was that a text had finally been written for the layman on how to draw and sketch mineral specimens.’
    • ‘The Clinic is throwing its doors open to the general public for conserving ancient documents, texts and even damaged books with an offer for protecting them for at least one more century to come.’
    • ‘Up until now, he has written more than twenty books and hundreds of texts or contributions to volumes, catalogues and journals.’
    written work, book, work, printed work, narrative
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    1. 1.1 A piece of written or printed material regarded as conveying the authentic or primary form of a particular work.
      ‘in some passages it is difficult to establish the original text’
      • ‘The University of Oklahoma Press is to be commended for bringing this wonderful text out of seclusion and putting together a truly fine publication.’
      • ‘You can then choose to listen to the recorded voice message which is a translation of the original text.’
      • ‘In 1979 came a short but strikingly original life of Gladstone in which Stansky used as his core material the texts of some of Gladstone's most important parliamentary speeches.’
      • ‘New editions of the texts in the original languages and new translations have been published.’
      • ‘Given that McKinnon claims to be a victim of sloppy journalism, I thought it would be useful to go straight to the source: the text of his address.’
      • ‘Have a look in the remainder bookshop and you'll find cheap reprints of the original texts.’
      • ‘The director did not deviate much from the original text.’
      • ‘Other tale-tellers repeated tales identical to Perrault's text word for word.’
      • ‘But then, arrogantly assuming that few will actually visit the original text, he goes right ahead and borrows heavily from his cited source.’
      • ‘This fine translation of the Paul Gerhardt text by John Wesley is a standard with many congregations.’
      • ‘Would there have been some value in giving the original French texts of quoted material (often extensive) in an appendix?’
      • ‘Based on a translation by Aravnidakshan, it will be an independent interpretation of the original text in Malayalam.’
      • ‘Logan also skillfully incorporates illustrative primary source texts into each of his chapters.’
      • ‘To be sure, Franklin wrote the original text in five phases beginning in 1771 and continued revising until his death.’
      • ‘He went so far as to revise the original text in 1965, changes the new edition incorporates.’
      • ‘This is the original text of an article first published in Vertigo magazine, spring 2002.’
      • ‘The Oxford editors first disentangled the two texts under their original printed titles of The History and The Tragedy of King Lear.’
      • ‘In the Chinese text, the word used for ‘recognise’ and ‘acknowledge’ is the same.’
      • ‘By the way - the link is to the text of the original story by MR James.’
      • ‘There were no PowerPoint slides from him, of course, and the hard copy of the text of his keynote speech was not available until later in the day.’
    2. 1.2mass noun Written or printed words, typically forming a connected piece of work.
      ‘stylistic features of journalistic text’
      • ‘When they write, they piece together words in the same way to create text which is structurally sound, but is often also completely impenetrable drivel.’
      • ‘In the meantime, traditional Latin and the severe cursive style was also abandoned in favour of a grammatically correct text and standard handwriting.’
      • ‘Written in the same flowing handwriting was more text.’
      • ‘Shallus was a clerk trained to create a fine handwritten text.’
      • ‘This is consistent with the fact that the primary instructional strategies at this time were sight-word recognition and locating words in text.’
      • ‘I create an edition that's about 15,000 words of text.’
      • ‘She flipped through its pages and was surprised to find it filled with handwritten text.’
      • ‘The use of repetitions and taboo words in text is pretty much a direct reflection of their use in speech.’
      • ‘The paper contained a few words of perfectly unintelligible text.’
      • ‘Further, since they were creating text through the letter writing, it was easy to identify topics for subsequent mini-lessons.’
      • ‘Each word had a printed frequency between 2 and 10 occurrences per million words of text.’
      • ‘This is a pocket-sized volume running to 130 pages and probably no more than 40,000 words of text.’
      • ‘Here we have a short - about 130 pages of text - well written paperback that provides a perfect introduction to a complicated story.’
      • ‘Reading stories aloud provides a great opportunity for young children to hear sounds in words within the context of connected text.’
      • ‘I cannot imagine what English words sprinkled in Hungarian text looks like for someone who doesn't speak Hungarian.’
      • ‘We can also see the remediation of print at work in the processes involved in producing handwritten text.’
      • ‘It's the first phase in my experiment of editing a dense piece of academic print text for the Web, and I actually posted it at the end of April, but only mentioned it in passing.’
      • ‘To check whether your passport is machine-readable make sure there are two lines of text printed on the white stripe at the bottom of the personal information page.’
      • ‘With print design, we have precise control over spacing between letters, words and lines of text.’
      • ‘This is a suggested format for citing the most common types of online material in printed texts; it is derived from advice given in various sources (listed at the end).’
    3. 1.3Computing mass noun Data in the form of words or alphabetic characters.
      • ‘Once printed words have been scanned, they can be quickly converted into editable computer text.’
      • ‘For my purposes, clearly displaying a lot of text at relatively small font sizes is the most important thing I want a monitor to do.’
      • ‘I'll just cut and paste a piece of text from her website.’
      • ‘This new version offers powerful control over the display and formatting of text.’
      • ‘For example, one of IBM's patents is on the idea of marking text in a word-processor in different colors for correcting.’
  • 2in singular The main body of a book or other piece of writing, as distinct from other material such as notes, appendices, and illustrations.

    ‘the pictures are clear and relate well to the text’
    • ‘Any reference to work in the body of the text is usefully indexed with a page number in the margin directing the reader to further pictures.’
    • ‘There is no policy of transliteration: the same Bengali word is spelt differently in the text and the notes.’
    • ‘This book gives sound illustrations and a thoughtful text, but by only using black and white photographs, it tends to look dated.’
    • ‘This information is set off from the main text and highlighted in red so that the reader can easily identify these personalized approaches.’
    • ‘The more than 100 illustrations complement the text nicely.’
    • ‘The author has used simple language and self-explanatory illustrations throughout the text.’
    • ‘A draft had been completed and Hopkins was starting to fret about locating quality pictures to accompany his text when he met Freeman.’
    • ‘The editor of The Union understood the significance of these drawings and proposed this approach himself, augmenting the text with visual illustrations.’
    • ‘The text of the book is preceded by a note in which Harris presents an uncharacteristically direct statement about his ideas and how they are to be understood in his work.’
    • ‘In neither the text nor the notes does Main engage directly with the arguments and interpretations of other historians.’
    • ‘Pictures depict the major topics of discussion and support the text well.’
    • ‘Glossies, snapshots and notes litter the text like shards of broken glass.’
    • ‘The author has included aluminium phosphide and pyrethroid poisonings in the appendix of the text in this edition.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, she lays out a clear design for the text and illustrations without losing much by the exclusion of an index.’
    • ‘I would prefer to have seen more material in footnotes; too many references in the body of the text to the opinions of other critics make for an awkward read.’
    • ‘The book concludes with biographical comments, notes on the text, and indices of persons, places, and topics.’
    • ‘Artists' books do not always marry words or text with images.’
    • ‘They also held the prizewinners up as examples of professional quality layout with a block make up and an unmistakable and guaranteed connection between text and picture.’
    • ‘In addition, Braund has appended to the text 614 notes, some of which are more than forty lines.’
    • ‘I liked the way the illustrations match the text on each page.’
    words, wording
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    1. 2.1 A script or libretto.
      • ‘We've stuck to the text but radically re-staged certain scenes.’
      • ‘The text is deliberately sketchy, if not embryonic, and the rest is up to the director, designers, and, especially, actors to flesh out.’
      • ‘Both performers do their best work when they have time to launch into the madder bits of the text.’
      • ‘Not everything should be forced to become clear-cut, if it is not so in the text.’
      • ‘Although Mark Dornford-May's production is played in 18th century costume, it takes a scythe to the text and cuts many of the more pointed lines.’
      • ‘In the touring production of the show, performers read the text rather than act it out.’
      • ‘In the text, there are no named characters or any indication of how to assign the speeches.’
      • ‘The text calls for a curtain to be drawn, revealing with fine theatricality the living Hermione posing as her statue.’
      • ‘Another director might have been more ruthless with the text.’
      • ‘There are laughs to be had from the updated text, and Shakespeare's basic story is as entertaining as ever.’
      • ‘Hoffman and Reilly squeeze all the legitimate, and many illegitimate, laughs out of the text.’
      • ‘However, the actors are able to sustain the trials of the text without losing momentum.’
      • ‘Both mastered the text superbly and the emotions that ran between the two actors kept the audience on the edge of their seats.’
      • ‘Even with the aid of a glossary, a synopsis and a published text, I found large tracts of Marcia Layne's first play impenetrable.’
      • ‘It is a sprawling work, confusing in the current production, and not entirely clarified even by perusal of the text.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, the cast tackle the complexity of the text with energy and depth.’
      • ‘Falls has made minor adjustments in the text, but Mark Wendland's décor departs radically from Jo Mielziner's original.’
      • ‘This is the only blemish in a breathtaking production that is based on a vividly theatrical response to the text.’
      • ‘In 1674 an updated version of Shakespeare's The Tempest had sung Masques inserted into the text.’
      • ‘But the power of his performance only underlines the two-dimensionality of the part as it lies in the text.’
      transcript, script
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  • 3A written work chosen or set as a subject of study.

    ‘too much concentration on set texts can turn pupils against reading’
    • ‘Two excellent texts guided the discussion of slave activities as ‘seen but unseen.’’
    • ‘The presence of monuments will be studied in the literary texts, but also from the point of view of drama.’
    • ‘In both classrooms, student and teacher discussion surrounding literacy texts were very minimal.’
    • ‘I've just come back to my office with an armful of old novels and literary criticism texts.’
    • ‘With countless documentary materials and other texts, this show was a remarkable tour de force and represents a new perspective on the study of Surrealism.’
    • ‘At home, they studied these texts in detail, and Judith subsequently translated some of them into rhythmic French prose.’
    • ‘Mr Harris said he had joined Miss Atkinson's class, who were studying Billy Liar as one of their set texts, and he spoke once to answer his name when the register was called.’
    • ‘Yes, we took it in turns to suggest a text to discuss for the next meeting.’
    • ‘There's a huge amount of work-a wider range of literary texts and poetry is studied.’
    • ‘Although it appeared to be important for this student to share this information, it did not apply to any tangible aspect of the text or discussion.’
    • ‘They would be doing four complete set texts and a good handful of poems along with completing a four thousand five hundred word critical essay on three novels or a selective group of poems of their own choice.’
    • ‘Staff had been notified in November 2002 by OCR that set texts would change by June 2004.’
    • ‘Being prompted to read a text for a class does not always mean that you will appreciate it the same as if you chose to read it.’
    • ‘But critics point out that, as in Rio, the texts under discussion are vague and not legally binding.’
    • ‘All the class does is read aloud a text and everyone then discusses what it means to them.’
    • ‘Last Stand at Mobile possesses many of the qualities of a fine teaching text.’
    • ‘In the Australian study at least, the books are clearly the primary text with many people re-reading them in preparation for their film viewing.’
    • ‘After examining and discussing texts, the children participated in an extension activity.’
    • ‘Putting aside all those who must have been dragged there because Orwell's novel was one of their English set texts, that's still an impressive set of statistics.’
    • ‘The programme includes prayer, Bible readings, teaching texts, testimonies, lively open question times, and presentation of the gospel.’
    1. 3.1 A textbook.
      ‘an organic chemistry text’
      • ‘He then went on to write further texts on mathematical physics, completing one on elasticity.’
      • ‘Someone must have been there at 5am ready to buy all the coffee stained English texts.’
      • ‘I would not however, recommend it as a primary text for undergraduate students.’
      • ‘Such texts largely talk at rather than with students.’
      • ‘Tinto and Noel, Levitz, and Saluri have written comprehensive texts on the subject of retention.’
      • ‘Most introductory texts use the term ‘refraction techniques’ to describe what is often thought of as controlled-source seismology.’
      • ‘The Bluejacket's Manual has been the primary text for teaching young Sailors ever since.’
      • ‘There is the sneaking suspicion that a text on writing may appear to be more useful than it actually is.’
      • ‘Some like to learn from texts and workbooks; others are more kinesthetic and need to have their ‘hands on’ what they are doing.’
      • ‘Deciding on goals rather than on texts is not value-free, but I would argue that it would be easier to reach agreement on the aims of a course than on a given text.’
      • ‘She got up, jabbing Savvy softly on the arm with her elbow, grabbed a bunch of hardcover texts from the professor's desk and started to give one to each person.’
      • ‘Popular English grammar texts and workbooks for all skill levels can be purchased at their showroom or ordered through their catalog.’
      • ‘In their screenings of Ienaga's texts, the Textbook Authorisation Council exposed its conviction that the purpose of history education was to create patriotic citizens.’
      • ‘They quickly became the best-selling school texts nationwide.’
      • ‘In fifty years as a writer he has published over 30 educational texts, and seven novels.’
      • ‘Our history texts discuss these issues, which all have ethnic repercussions, in great detail.’
      • ‘My new marketing texts for the new term have arrived.’
      • ‘Yet today, Smith is the author of Modern Optical Engineering, a fundamental text in optical design.’
      • ‘He has authored more than 100 publications in the cardiology literature and book chapters in medical texts.’
      • ‘It facilitated the collation and comparison of different manuscripts of a particular scientific text, which led to the correction of mistakes and the pooling of new ideas.’
      textbook, book
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    2. 3.2 A passage from the Bible or other religious work, especially when used as the subject of a sermon.
      • ‘It is more or less a given, by convention if not by conviction, that one must have a biblical text for a sermon.’
      • ‘The canonical texts in the Bible reflect this ongoing conversation within the ancient Hebrew community and the early church.’
      • ‘Much of our ceremony and law systems stem from Roman Catholic bible texts.’
      • ‘Our reading from Romans 8 contains gospel grist for any number of sermons and is a text to which we pastors resort often in times of loss and perplexity.’
      • ‘No one asks for copies of the prayer texts or the sermon, though many people comment on the energy and freshness of the service.’
      • ‘There are many texts of the Bible that support this, only by looking at these, and asking for God's spirit to help us can we prove these to ourselves.’
      • ‘First, if one studies Charles' hymns, one is struck by the fact that most of their phraseology comes from Scripture or from allusions to Bible texts.’
      • ‘The pastor prays, leads the congregation in song, opens the Bible, reads the text.’
      • ‘A variety of speakers brought a variety of sermons on numerous texts, the result of which was occasional blessing but no regular consistent instruction.’
      • ‘The first is that all the readings of texts and the sermons have been provided by biblical specialists, attempting to read theologically.’
      • ‘An antiphon usually refers to a syllabic setting of a brief Scriptural text sung before and after a psalm or canticle.’
      • ‘The role of music in the reading of religious texts is that of enhancing the meaning through clarification.’
      • ‘After the video we would sit and talk about the evenings topic, and debate with each other the interpretation we each put into a text from the bible, or long held theories which we had doubts about.’
      • ‘And, of course you'll continue to find sermons on the lectionary texts written by experienced preachers.’
      • ‘His art dealt with Christian themes either in the form of religious subjects of the 1940s, or in texts taken from the Bible.’
      • ‘When it comes to a religious text, the translator could have some pre-conceived ideas which make him interpret certain texts in a certain way, but this could be mistaken.’
      • ‘It brings much delight and refreshment to a congregation in the Prayer Meeting to hear one or two unfamiliar texts of the Bible quoted.’
      • ‘In any event, our difficult scriptural texts must be not passed on uncritically in sermons and religious education.’
      • ‘So I decided to re-explore Judaism directly by reading texts and attending services at a Conservative synagogue.’
      • ‘Bartlett's Good Friday sermon on a Johannine text demonstrates well how preaching may be shaped by a particular understanding of the good news.’
      passage, extract, quotation, verse, line
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    3. 3.3 A subject or theme for a discussion or exposition.
      ‘he took as his text the fact that Australia is paradise’
      • ‘In the text of the discussion, we find the following exchange.’
      • ‘He is concerned with selected, representative texts and themes.’
      • ‘Each column begins with a true-life case study, and each is followed by a list of sources that can serve as basic texts for discussion.’
      • ‘Is there a particular scene that you could use as a text for such a discussion?’
      theme, subject, topic, issue, point, motif
      View synonyms
  • 4A text message.

    ‘just give us a call or send us a text’
    • ‘Still hopeful, he returns to Leicester and sits in a cold sweat, watching the screen of his mobile phone until the text drops just after 10.’
    • ‘I'd just switched off the tape recorder and switched on the mobile phone when a text popped up to say that the deal had finally been done.’
    • ‘I am unconcerned about the interweb, and the occasional text seems just fine… but here I am less than an hour since I got home, online.’
    • ‘Any mobile phone can receive texts and it keeps you in close touch with your money.’
    • ‘The combo package integrates a webcam, instant messaging, texts and e-mails in one free package.’
    • ‘Rumours came in on the limited mobile phone texts and on the one battery radio about earthquakes somewhere nearby, but no clue as to the enormity of the whole thing.’
    • ‘Once the calls, texts and emails start coming in I know I could be discussing almost any subject under the sun!’
    • ‘If yes, stop immediately - no calls, emails, texts, no asking friends how she is doing.’
    • ‘So I find out about my landline, through a text on my mobile.’
    • ‘He has not been heard from since and has not returned any calls or texts to his mobile phone, she said.’
    • ‘The product manages phone calls, webcam, emails, texts and instant messaging in one place on a PC, with multi-way video calls expected to be added in 2005.’
    • ‘The new system lets you send texts to any cellphone in Britain for 12p, and it receives messages free.’
    • ‘Anecdotally, mobile phone calls and texts have increased.’
    • ‘You haven't replied any of my emails, texts, voicemails or anything.’
  • 5mass noun Fine, large handwriting, used especially for manuscripts.


[with object]
  • Send (someone) a text message.

    ‘if she was going to go she would have texted us’
    • ‘She was busy texting someone throughout the game and so wasn't paying attention.’
    • ‘When I went into school next morning Amie was texting someone and when she saw me she put her phone away quickly.’
    • ‘He was texting a friend when one of the youths asked him if he had 10 pence.’
    • ‘My ex-boyfriend wouldn't even answer his phone and he never texted me back.’
    • ‘I texted my girlfriend to let her know how brave I was being.’
    • ‘Amanda had texted him first, with a silly little random message, an in-joke between them.’
    • ‘Adrian texted me while I was still outside my house, asking me if I told anyone yet.’
    • ‘To be honest the only reason I knew it was my birthday was because my sister texted me.’
    • ‘We can live without their annoying ring tones, but we can't live without texting our friends.’
    • ‘Teenager Hina Khan likes loud music, chatting in class, watching TV and texting her school pals.’
    • ‘He started texting her and they talked on the telephone for about a month.’
    • ‘Kate, who had already been awake and texting Dan like crazy, erupted into a fit of giggles.’
    • ‘She had texted him to meet her at the balcony where they usually meet.’
    • ‘It is a sophisticated mobile phone pager which texts the owner if the car alarm is triggered, the battery is disconnected or an unauthorised attempt is made to start the engine.’
    • ‘We would have been there sooner though if my Mum hadn't insisted on texting me en route to ask where we were.’
    • ‘‘I texted him when I had finished and he rang me to congratulate me,’ Tom said.’
    • ‘En route, TinTin texted me to say that she was feeling poorly and wouldn't be able to make it out Saturday night.’
    • ‘Princess has taken to texting me when she's free for dinner and includes her preferred restaurants.’
    • ‘I've been in meetings since then so I'm just texting someone to try to find out.’
    • ‘They were in the queue texting their kids about the tickets, said John.’


Late Middle English: from Old Northern French texte, from Latin textus ‘tissue, literary style’ (in medieval Latin, ‘Gospel’), from text- ‘woven’, from the verb texere.