1. The interpretation of a written text based on establishing its original meaning—the sense that the precise wording used was commonly understood to have at the time it was published. Primarily associated with statutory interpretation (in US legal contexts) and with Biblical exegesis. See also exegesis; meaning; compare hermeneutics; reception theory.
2. (strong textualism) A pejorative reference to the poststructuralist stance that everything is textual: see also social text.