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implication, explicitness, directness, surface


Prefix sub-, Correspondence and Understanding, Consciousness and Awareness, Discolsure and Revelation, Expression and Communication



How to pronounce subtext (audio)


Dictionary definition of subtext

An underlying or implicit message or meaning in a work of literature, art, or performance.
"The painting's subtext was open to interpretation."

Detailed meaning of subtext

It is the unspoken or implied message that may be inferred from the words or actions of characters, the imagery or symbolism used, or the overall tone and atmosphere of the work. The subtext is often used to convey complex emotions or ideas that are not explicitly stated, and may be used to create tension or add depth to the work. The subtext can be interpreted by the audience or reader, and may not be immediately apparent, requiring careful analysis or multiple viewings or readings to fully understand. Overall, the subtext is an important tool in conveying meaning and evoking emotions in a work of art or literature.

Example sentences containing subtext

1. The subtext of her smile hinted at a deeper meaning.
2. He understood the subtext in the political speech.
3. To appreciate the novel fully, one must comprehend the subtext.
4. The subtext in their conversation was so palpable, it felt like a third participant.
5. She enjoys dissecting the subtext in contemporary movies.
6. The subtext was fraught with hidden emotions and unspoken truths.

History and etymology of subtext

The noun 'subtext' has an etymology rooted in its Latin components. It stems from the combination of 'sub,' meaning 'under,' and 'textus,' which means 'woven' or 'fabric.' In essence, 'subtext' refers to the hidden or underlying meaning that is woven beneath the surface of a work of literature, art, or performance. It represents the intricate layers of meaning that lie beneath the explicit words or actions, often revealing deeper emotions, motivations, or themes. The etymology of 'subtext' encapsulates the idea that this hidden meaning is like a subtle thread woven beneath the visible fabric of a narrative or artistic expression, adding richness and complexity to the work and requiring careful interpretation to uncover its significance.

Quiz: Find the meaning of subtext

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Further usage examples of subtext

1. His jokes often carried a subtext of deeper, sometimes darker, thoughts.
2. Subtext is an essential ingredient in every good drama.
3. He missed the subtext of the message, focusing only on its surface meaning.
4. The subtext of the argument was their unsolved past issues.
5. The play's subtext reflects the societal concerns of its era.
6. His critique carefully analyzed the subtext present in the poet's work.
7. The subtext became clearer once I studied the author's life.
8. The subtext of their dialogue suggested a hidden rivalry.
9. Her gestures carried a subtext that only a few could understand.
10. The subtext in his speech was intended for a specific audience.
11. She was skilled at subtly weaving subtext into her writing.
12. In literature, subtext often speaks louder than the explicit narrative.
13. Unaware of the subtext, he responded to the question literally.
14. Through a dense subtext, the film explored themes of identity and displacement.
15. The movie's subtext was difficult to decipher.
16. There was a subtext of tension between the two characters.
17. The novel's subtext explored themes of identity and belonging.
18. The subtext of his comments hinted at a deeper meaning.
19. The play's subtext added depth and complexity to the story.
20. The subtext of the poem conveyed a sense of loss and longing.

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