text (n.)

late 14c., "wording of anything written," from Old French texte, Old North French tixte "text, book; Gospels" (12c.), from Medieval Latin textus "the Scriptures, text, treatise," in Late Latin "written account, content, characters used in a document," from Latin textus "style or texture of a work," literally "thing woven," from past participle stem of texere "to weave, to join, fit together, braid, interweave, construct, fabricate, build" (from PIE root *teks- "to weave, to fabricate, to make; make wicker or wattle framework"). 

An ancient metaphor: thought is a thread, and the raconteur is a spinner of yarns — but the true storyteller, the poet, is a weaver. The scribes made this old and audible abstraction into a new and visible fact. After long practice, their work took on such an even, flexible texture that they called the written page a textus, which means cloth. [Robert Bringhurst, "The Elements of Typographic Style"]

To Socrates, a word (the name of a thing) is "an instrument of teaching and of separating reality, as a shuttle is an instrument of separating the web." The meaning "a digital text message" is by 2005.

text (v.)

"to send a text message by mobile system," 2005; see text (n.).

Related: Texted; texting. Formerly it meant "to write in text letters" (1590s), text letters being a kind of large writing used by clerks in the text or body of a manuscript (distinguished from the smaller hand used in the notes).

updated on April 23, 2022

Definitions of text from WordNet

text (n.)
the words of something written;
they handed out the printed text of the mayor's speech
he wants to reconstruct the original text
there were more than a thousand words of text
Synonyms: textual matter
text (n.)
a passage from the Bible that is used as the subject of a sermon;
the preacher chose a text from Psalms to introduce his sermon
text (n.)
a book prepared for use in schools or colleges;
the professor wrote the text that he assigned students to buy
Synonyms: textbook / text edition / schoolbook / school text
text (n.)
the main body of a written work (as distinct from illustrations or footnotes etc.);
pictures made the text easier to understand
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