Word Origin the underlying or implicit meaning, as of a literary work. Origin of subtext 1945–50;
text Related forms sub·tex·tu·al, adjective
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for subtextual an underlying theme in a piece of writing a message which is not stated directly but can be inferred
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for subtextual n.
"underlying theme of a work of literature, 1950, from
sub- + text. Originally a term in Konstantin Stanislavsky's theory of acting. Earlier it was used in a literally sense of "text appearing below other text on a page" (1726).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper