"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[suhb-tekst] /ˈsʌbˌtɛkst/
the underlying or implicit meaning, as of a literary work.
Origin of subtext
1945-50; translation of Russian podtékst; see sub-, text
Related forms
subtextual, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for subtext
  • It is sometimes a virulent subtext, at other times a nuanced dynamic.
  • If there is a political subtext to these paintings, the viewer has to supply it.
  • The subtext to the corporate threat is the notion that the public has become weary of expensive federal agencies.
  • The subtext that the single-mind is an illusion, covering something much more complex, is fascinating.
  • The unspoken subtext here is that a lot of scientists will want to be the discoverer of the first extra-solar terrestrial planet.
  • Obviously you are allowing your paranoia and persecution complex write the subtext.
  • The population control agenda is a prominent subtext of the environmentalist one, and it has largely succeeded.
  • Some of them did have political subtext but not all.
  • The subtext of that critique is the notion that the stories of the past have no real import on the struggles of the present.
  • He insists on providing more subtext for a role than any director wants.
British Dictionary definitions for subtext


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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for subtext

"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
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