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1. a book prescribed as part of a course of study
2. Computing the words printed, written, or displayed on a visual display unit
3. the original exact wording of a work, esp the Bible, as distinct from a revision or translation
4. a short passage of the Bible used as a starting point for a sermon or adduced as proof of a doctrine
5. short for textbook


any written representation (e.g. books), or by extension other recorded symbolic representation (films, television programmes, art forms). Unlike 'speech’, a text can have an independent existence beyond the writer and the context of its production. Rather than the authorial voice and the pre-given structures of LANGUAGE being decisive (as it sometimes seems for SAUSSURE), the text takes on a life of its own, so that meaning is gained from the relations between texts (intertexuality) -see also STRUCTURALISM, DECENTRED SELF. For DERRIDA (see also DECONSTRUCTION), any assumption that a text can have a definite meaning is misplaced, given that signifiers are always ‘floating’. That texts do not simply ‘assert their meanings’ is a point of view made much of in modern research into MASS MEDIA OF COMMUNICATIONS such as TELEVISION. See also DECONSTRUCTION, POSTSTRUCTURALISM. Compare HERMENEUTICS.



(1) A work that is printed, written, or in oral form; a work of literature or folklore; or any written work.

(2) In linguistics, a sequence of several or many sentences constructed in accordance with the rules of language. A text’s coherence is the result of both grammatical and semantic factors. Grammatical links within a text include agreement of verbal tenses or moods in contiguous sentences, the use of personal pronouns in the third person instead of repetitions of nouns, and the placement of articles identifying nouns that have already been used in the text. Semantically, a text is united by successive sentences using semantic information from the preceding text. The word order and intonation of a sentence may depend on their role within the text as a whole, and in particular within the confines of a paragraph. A sentence may begin with the same significant work or noun that concluded the preceding sentence.

A literary text uses direct discourse and other means of distinguishing authorial speech from that of the characters. Literary texts also use devices to unify these two types of speech. Early linguistic scholarship confined itself to the boundaries of the sentence. The linguistic rules for the construction of a text extending beyond the boundaries of a sentence are studied by linguistic disciplines that developed in the 1960’s and 1970’s. These include metalinguistics (the term of the Soviet philologist M. M. Bakhtin), translinguistics (the term of the French semioticist R. Barthe), textual linguistics (the Austrian linguist W. Dressier and the West German scholar W. Stempel), and speech analysis (the American linguist Z. Harris). Textual linguistics develops concepts that were first studied in the classical and medieval rhetoric, and also deals with the theory of the actual division of a sentence. Textual study is a link between philology, or the scholarly interpretation of texts; literary theory, including textology; and linguistics.

More broadly, a text in the linguistic sense is any sequence of words (in semiotics, any sequence of signs) constructed according to the rules of a given language system. In this sense, the devising of rules for constructing a text corresponding to a given meaning (according to the pattern “meaning—text”) represents the basic aim of linguistic research.


Prazhskii lingvisticheskii kruzhok: Sb. St. Moscow, 1967.
Sevbo, I. P. Struktura sviaznogo teksta I avtomatizatsiia referirovaniia. Moscow, 1969.
Bakhtin, M. Problemy poetiki Dostoevskogo, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1972.
Revzin, I. I. “K obshchesemioticheskomu istolkovaniiu trekh postulatov Proppa.” In Tipologicheskie issledovaniia po fol’kloru. Moscow, 1975.
Dressier, W. Einfiihrung in die Textlinguistik. Tübingen, 1972.
(3) An author’s work without commentaries or appended material.
(4) The textual part of a printed work such as an illustrated edition or album.
(5) A type font 20 points (7.52 mm) in size.
Table 1. USSR production of primary types of light industry equipment
Spinning frames ...............1,1092,6793,2274,0275,359
Looms ...............1, 82316,47224,25219,7533,128
Circular knitting machines ...............444321676440
Industrial sewing machines ...............20,300104,500105,100128,600147,700
Fleshing machines ...............118176230396
Lasting machines ...............16545284220


The part of a message that conveys information, excluding bits or characters needed to facilitate transmission of the message.


Executable code, especially a "pure code" portion shared between multiple instances of a program running in a multitasking operating system.

Compare English.


Textual material in the mainstream sense; data in ordinary ASCII or EBCDIC representation (see flat ASCII). "Those are text files; you can review them using the editor."

These two contradictory senses confuse hackers too.


Words, sentences and paragraphs (precisely what you are reading). A page of text takes approximately from 2,000 to 4,000 bytes of storage. Text is typically free form words in contrast to "data," which are structured units such as quantity, total, city and state. Data are stored in fixed, columnar locations within database records.

XML Text Can Be Data
XML is a widely used format for holding data and is entirely text based. XML records contain text with tags that mark the beginning and end of the units of data such as quantity, total, etc. See XML and text field.