Between the lines


      • To infer or understand something that is not explicitly stated
        When someone says something indirectly or subtly, and the true meaning can be understood by reading between the lines

      • To decipher or interpret a hidden or underlying meaning
        When reading a text or listening to someone speak, one may need to look for clues or hints to understand the full meaning, reading between the lines in order to fully comprehend the message being conveyed

      • To read or understand something more deeply than what is written or said
        This meaning is often used in literary analysis, where readers must analyze the text and look for underlying themes and symbolism to truly understand the message that the author is trying to convey

    Examples of Between the lines

    • Although he denied stealing the money, I could tell there was something fishy going on between the lines of his explanation.

      This idiom is used to imply that there is more to a situation than what is being explicitly said. It suggests that there are hidden meanings or implications that can be inferred from the context or tone of the conversation. In this example, the speaker suspects that the person denying theft is actually guilty, based on non-verbal cues or subtle hints in their response.


    Overall, the idiom "between the lines" refers to the need to look beyond the literal meaning of words or actions in order to fully understand the intended message or meaning. It can be used in a variety of contexts, from everyday conversations to literary analysis.

    When someone reads between the lines, they are able to pick up on subtle cues or hints that may not be explicitly stated. This can be useful in situations where someone may not want to directly say something but still wants to convey a message. It can also be used when there is a hidden or underlying meaning that needs to be deciphered.

    In addition, reading between the lines can also refer to understanding something on a deeper level than what is presented on the surface. This can be applied to various forms of communication, from written texts to nonverbal cues. It requires a level of critical thinking and analysis to truly grasp the intended meaning.

    Origin of "Between the lines"

    The origin of the idiom "between the lines" is believed to come from the practice of reading written text. When reading, it is important to not only focus on the words themselves, but also the spaces between them. These spaces, known as "lines," can hold hidden meaning or provide clues to the overall message of the text.

    This idiom has been used in literature since at least the 17th century, with the earliest known use found in a play by Thomas Middleton in 1632. However, the phrase became more widely used in the 19th century, particularly in the context of literary analysis and interpretation.

    Today, "between the lines" is a commonly used idiom in everyday language and has expanded beyond its original literary meaning. It is often used to encourage critical thinking and looking beyond the surface level of information.