• (British) IPA: /ˈtəʊkən/
  • (America) enPR: tōk′ən IPA: /ˈtoʊkən/

token (plural tokens)

  1. Something serving as an expression of something else.
    Synonyms: sign, symbol
    According to the Bible, the rainbow is a token of God's covenant with Noah.
  2. A keepsake.
    Synonyms: memento, souvenir
    Please accept this bustier as a token of our time together.
  3. A piece of stamped metal or plastic, etc., used as a substitute for money; a voucher that can be exchanged for goods or services.
    Subway tokens are being replaced by magnetic cards.
    A book token is the easiest option for a Christmas gift.
  4. (obsolete, sometimes, figurative) Evidence, proof; a confirming detail; physical trace, mark, footprint.
  5. Support for a belief; grounds for an opinion.
    Synonyms: reason, reasoning
  6. An extraordinary event serving as evidence of supernatural power.
    Synonyms: miracle
  7. An object or disclosure to attest or authenticate the bearer or an instruction.
    Synonyms: password
  8. A seal guaranteeing the quality of an item.
  9. Something given or shown as a symbol or guarantee of authority or right; a sign of authenticity, of power, good faith.
    • ca. 1605, William Shakespeare, Measure fir Measure, Act IV, sc. 3:
      Say, by this token, I desire his company.
    • 1611, King James Version, Exodus 3:12:
      And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.
  10. A tally.
  11. (philosophy) A particular thing to which a concept applies.
  12. (computing) An atomic piece of data, such as a word, for which a meaning may be inferred during parsing.
    Synonyms: symbol
    cot en
    • 2004, Randall Hyde, Write Great Code: Understanding the Machine, page 68
      For each lexeme, the scanner creates a small data package known as a token and passes this data package on to the parser.
  13. (computing) A conceptual object that can be possessed by a computer, process, etc. in order to regulate a turn-taking system such as a token ring network.
  14. (computing) A meaningless placeholder used as a substitute for sensitive data.
  15. (grammar) A lexeme; a basic, grammatically indivisible unit of a language such as a keyword, operator or identifier.
  16. (corpus linguistics) A single example of a certain word in a text or corpus.
    Antonyms: type
  17. (medical) A characteristic sign of a disease or of a bodily disorder, a symptom; a sign of a bodily condition, recovery, or health.
  18. (medical, obsolete) A livid spot upon the body, indicating, or supposed to indicate, the approach of death.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Francis Beaumont; John Fletcher, “Valentinian”, in Comedies and Tragedies […], London: Printed for Humphrey Robinson, […], and for Humphrey Moseley […], published 1647, OCLC 3083972 ↗, Act 5, scene 4:
      Like the fearful tokens of the plague, Are mere fore-runners of their ends.
  19. (printing) Ten and a half quires, or, commonly, 250 sheets, of paper printed on both sides; also, in some cases, the same number of sheets printed on one side, or half the number printed on both sides.
  20. (mining) A bit of leather having a peculiar mark designating a particular miner. Each hewer sends one of these with each corf or tub he has hewn.
  21. (mining) A thin bed of coal indicating the existence of a thicker seam at no great distance.
  22. (rail transport) A physical object used for exchange between drivers and signalmen on single track lines.
  23. (weaving) In a loom, a colored signal to show the weaver which shuttle to use.
  24. (Church of Scotland) A piece of metal given beforehand to each person in the congregation who is permitted to partake of the Lord's Supper.
Translations Translations Translations Adjective


  1. Done as an indication or a pledge; perfunctory, minimal or merely symbolic.
    He made a token tap on the brake pedal at the stop sign.
    • 1927, Arthur Robert Burns, Money and Monetary Policy in Early Times, page 393
      If the as had been reduced to a token in 240 BC, it was now a little more token than before.
    • 2000, Cheris Kramarae, Dale Spender, Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women, Page 176
      There are still many churches where the participation of women is token.
    • 2008, Adrian Blomfield, The Daily Telegraph, Has Russia got a new Stalin?, March 31, 2008
      Just to be on the safe side, the The Kremlin has also banned any of Putin’s serious critics from standing. Three unelectable misfits have been allowed to mount token challenges.
  2. a minor attempt for appearance sake, or to minimally comply with a requirement
    he was hired as the company's token black person
    the television show was primarily directed toward a black audience, but it did have a few token white people as performers
Translations Verb

token (tokens, present participle tokening; past and past participle tokened)

  1. To betoken, indicate, portend, designate, denote
    • 1398, in Hans Kurath & Sherman M. Kuhn, eds., Middle English Dictionary, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press 1962, ISBN 978-0-472-01044-8, page 1242:
      dorrẹ̅, dōrī adj. & n. […] Golden or reddish-yellow […] (a. 1398) *Trev. Barth. 59b/a: ʒelouʒ colour [of urine] […] tokeneþ febleness of hete […] dorrey & citrine & liʒt red tokeneþ mene.
    • 1928, Edmund Blunden, Undertones of War, Penguin 2010, p. 149:
      The instinct revolted against the inevitable punishment to come, already tokened by those big holes now met in walls and crossings.
  2. To betroth
  3. (philosophy) To symbolize, instantiate

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