Definition of subtext in English:



  • An underlying and often distinct theme in a piece of writing or conversation.

    ‘in any biography the relationship of author to subject forms a haunting subtext’
    • ‘The question then becomes, how do we read a work of fiction one of whose subtexts is the events of '48 and its consequences?’
    • ‘This system forms the subtext of the protagonist's behavior and encodes it as text.’
    • ‘The book is full of different subtexts and themes, all of which try to explain why a man so adored by the French culinary world would take his own life.’
    • ‘The only drawback to this truly engaged show is a handful of moments in the script where we lose sight of the larger theme and intellectual subtexts.’
    • ‘While Nora enthusiastically turns to fairy tales as a form of childhood therapy, she also unwittingly absorbs the genre's patriarchal and racist subtexts.’
    • ‘To get a hang of the play and its subtext, which is its essence, it is necessary to take it scene-by-scene.’
    • ‘The learned meanings are present in the subtext, which is understood only by the initiated audiences.’
    • ‘I'll leave the discussion of themes there, though a scholarly look at the film and its underlying subtexts could take several pages.’
    • ‘Alternatively, if they're English students (as most thesps are), they could be focussing on the various subtexts of the film.’
    • ‘The underlying subtext here is that native language belongs at home and not at school.’
    • ‘The novel uses these worn motifs to create a subtext of understated feelings.’
    • ‘Given the wild and underground nature of the shows they produce, it comes as no surprise that the Old Trout Puppet Workshop has a surreal story of origin, complete with apocalyptic subtexts.’
    • ‘Who we are and who we were - and why it might matter - were the subtexts of a national literature.’
    • ‘Its great when for once you don't look for subtexts or symbolisms and just laugh and feel good or bad about something.’
    • ‘It's a subtext which betrays the author's own feelings but he doesn't allow it to stand in the way of a good yarn.’
    • ‘The 42-page comic can be read in a single sitting, though it'll take several sweeps to pluck out the myriad subtexts and visual motifs.’
    • ‘Filtering the genre model through a gay sensibility served to burst the romantic bubble that concealed the subtexts.’
    • ‘Serenity is an object lesson in how to do things right; from narrative structure, to emotional development, to surprise plot twists and thought provoking subtexts, everything about this film just works.’
    • ‘But the inference that the special Hollinger committee set up to investigate the allegations produced a report influenced by anti-Semitism is one which carries a variety of dangerous subtexts.’
    • ‘The exhibition contains, of course, excellent examples by each of the three masthead figures, but they represent only one strand of a much more ambitious but ill-defined text, or rather series of subtexts.’