read between the lines

Idioms & Phrases

read between the lines

Perceive or detect a hidden meaning, as in They say that everything's fine, but reading between the lines I suspect they have some marital problems. This term comes from cryptography, where in one code reading every second line of a message gives a different meaning from that of the entire text. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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