read between the lines

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read between the lines

Fig. to infer something (from something else); to try to understand what is meant by something that is not written explicitly or openly. After listening to what she said, if you read between the lines, you can begin to see what she really means. Don't believe every thing you read literally. Learn to read between the lines.
See also: line, read

read between the lines

Perceive or detect a hidden meaning, as in They say that everything's fine, but reading between the lines I suspect they have some marital problems . This term comes from cryptography, where in one code reading every second line of a message gives a different meaning from that of the entire text. [Mid-1800s]
See also: line, read

read between the lines

COMMON If you read between the lines, you understand what someone really means, or what is really happening in a situation, even though it is not stated openly. He was reluctant to go into details, but reading between the lines it appears that he was forced to leave. Note: You can also talk about the message between the lines. He didn't give a reason, but I sensed something between the lines. He was forced to confess to the crime, but he tried to send a message between the lines at his trial.
See also: line, read

read between the lines

To perceive or detect an obscure or unexpressed meaning: learned to read between the lines of corporate annual reports to discern areas of fiscal weakness.
See also: line, read

read between the lines

Infer an unexpressed meaning. An early method of transmitting written coded messages was to write the secret information in invisible ink between the lines of a document. The recipient would then learn the information by reading between the lines. The phrase came to mean gaining an insight in the context of reading something into another person's words or behavior—and often both. For example, you, your spouse, and teenage son are invited to a family gathering. Your son's reaction when he heard the news was to stare at the floor and mutter, “Well, okay if I gotta.” Reading between the lines, you'd say that he's not crazy about going.
See also: line, read
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