Did you know:
The Latin word texere means to weave. Texture, thus, originally referred to the art of weaving and we now use it in phrases such as this cloth has a fine texture to refer to how it ‘feels’ (against our skin). It is also sometimes used more broadly to mean ‘distinctive quality’, as in the phrase the texture of life in an Indian village; or pattern, as in, the texture of his music. A textured substance, like a roughly woven fabric, has a rough feel.
Texere and related roots later began to be used metaphorically – writing was seen as ‘weaving words into pages’ and writers as ‘word weavers’. Thus written or printed words came to be known as texts and Latin contexere (Latin prefix ‘con-‘ means together: a con-ference, thus, brings people together and con-texere means to ‘weave together’) later evolved into context – part of the text that comes immediately before of after a word or phrase. Thus when someone quotes out of context they are providing no reference to help understand the true meaning of the quote and if we ask ‘in what context’ we want to know ‘in relation to what or under what circumstances’.
Pretext comes from praetexere which literally means to weave in front or to disguise or hide. Thus, if someone asks for a day off on the pretext of being sick they are disguising the real reason. Subtext, similarly, refers to the ‘underlying (thread or) theme’ in a text, which may not be obvious, as in, the subtext of a play or the subtext of a book.
Some other words related to texere are textile, textual (related to text) and tissue which originally referred to a woven fabric.
Texture*, Textured*, Text, Context*
Pretext*, Subtext*, Textile, Textual, Tissue
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