[ tekst ]
/ tɛkst /
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verb (used without object) Digital Technology.
to send a text message: Texting while driving is an accident asking to happen.
verb (used with object) Digital Technology.
to send a text message about or containing: He texted congratulations to his niece on her new job.Compare instant message (def. 2).
to send a text message to: The only way I can ever reach her is to text her.


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Origin of text

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English, from Medieval Latin textus “text, terms,” Latin: “text, structure,” originally, “pattern of weaving, texture (of cloth),” equivalent to tex(ere) “to weave” + -tus suffix of verbal action


textless, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is a basic definition of text?

Text is the exact, original words written by an author. Text is also a specific work as written by the original author. Text is also commonly used to refer to a text message or to send a text message. Text has several other senses as a noun.

Text refers to the actual words written in a book, newspaper, blog post, or any other written work. Pictures, charts, and other images are not text. When you read something, you are looking at text and using your language skills to get meaning out of it. Something that doesn’t contain any text is textless.

Real-life examples: Books, newspapers, and magazines all contain a lot of text. Even picture books or art books might have text to describe the images.

Used in a sentence: The news editor broke up the large amount of text by putting charts and photographs between paragraphs. 

Related to this sense, text refers to specific written works as they were created by the original author. For example, if your teacher asks you to consult the text of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” they want you to read the exact words of the poem that Poe wrote rather than a synopsis or a translation by a different writer.

Used in a sentence: I think most people would find the Lord of the Rings movies more exciting than the original text. 

Text also refers to a text message, an electronic message sent by mobile devices and some computer apps.

Real-life examples: If you own a smartphone, you probably send and receive texts almost every day. Your friends, family, and cellphone company are all likely to send you texts.

Used in a sentence: My sister sent me a text about the $10 I owe her. 

Text also means to send a text message.

Used in a sentence: She spends a lot of time texting her friends.

Where does text come from?

The first records of text come from the early 1300s. It ultimately comes from the Latin textus, meaning “texture” (of cloth). Textus comes from the Latin verb texere, meaning “to weave.” The word textile also comes from texere.

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What are some other forms related to text?

  • textless (adjective)

What are some synonyms for text?

What are some words that share a root or word element with text

What are some words that often get used in discussing text?

How is text used in real life?

Text is a common word that often refers to written words or things that contain a lot of writing. Text also very often refers to text messaging.



Try using text!

Is text used correctly in the following sentence?

Many fans felt the film adaptation strayed too far from the author’s original text.

How to use text in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for text

/ (tɛkst) /

to send a text message from a mobile phone

Derived forms of text

textless, adjective

Word Origin for text

C14: from Medieval Latin textus version, from Latin textus texture, from texere to compose
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012