Text is a verb too

I went searching for a dictionary definition of text in use as a verb, and was surprised to not find anything listed in the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang.

To me, using the word text as a verb (as in, “I’ll text you the phone number later”) is a new and informal idea, but the Concise Oxford English Dictionary disagrees with me, as it includes a definition of the word as both a noun and a verb. When did this change formally happen? Is there a way of using the word text as a verb that does not apply to text messaging?


→ n.
1. a written or printed work regarded in terms of content rather than form. • the original words of an author or document. • (Computing) data corresponding to a body of writing.
2. the main body of a book or other piece of writing, as distinct from appendices, illustrations, etc.
3. a written work chosen as a subject of study. • a passage from the Bible or other religious work, especially as the subject of a sermon.
4. a text message.
5. ( also text-hand ) (archaic) fine, large handwriting, used especially for manuscripts.

→ v.
send a text message to.
– DERIVATIVES texter n. textless adj.
– ORIGIN ME: from Old North. Fr. texte, from L. textus ‘tissue, literary style’ (in med. L., ‘Gospel’), from text-, texere ‘weave’

“text n.” The Concise Oxford English Dictionary, Twelfth edition . Ed. Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2008. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. University of British Columbia. 18 September 2010

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1 Response to Text is a verb too

  1. lesliedawes says:

    interesting comment. It is so true that certain words have taken on different meanings as they are associated with technology. So how do we as educators teach to the needs of the 21st century learner?

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