noun to·ken \ˈtō-kən\

: a round piece of metal or plastic that is used instead of money in some machines : an object that looks like a coin and is used in place of a coin

: something that is a symbol of a feeling, event, etc.

Full Definition of TOKEN

:  an outward sign or expression <his tears were tokens of his grief>
a :  symbol, emblem <a white flag is a token of surrender>
b :  an instance of a linguistic expression
:  a distinguishing feature :  characteristic
a :  souvenir, keepsake
b :  a small part representing the whole :  indication <this is only a token of what we hope to accomplish>
c :  something given or shown as a guarantee (as of authority, right, or identity)
a :  a piece resembling a coin issued as money by some person or body other than a de jure government
b :  a piece resembling a coin issued for use (as for fare on a bus) by a particular group on specified terms
:  a member of a group (as a minority) that is included within a larger group through tokenism; especially :  a token employee
by the same token
:  for the same reason

Origin of TOKEN

Middle English, from Old English tācen, tācn sign, token; akin to Old High German zeihhan sign, Greek deiknynai to show — more at diction
First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of TOKEN

sign, mark, token, note, symptom mean a discernible indication of what is not itself directly perceptible. sign applies to any indication to be perceived by the senses or the reason <encouraging signs for the economy>. mark suggests something impressed on or inherently characteristic of a thing often in contrast to general outward appearance <a mark of a good upbringing>. token applies to something that serves as a proof of something intangible <this gift is a token of our esteem>. note suggests a distinguishing mark or characteristic <a note of irony in her writing>. symptom suggests an outward indication of an internal change or condition <rampant crime is a symptom of that city's decay>.

Rhymes with TOKEN



—used to describe something that is done with very little effort and only to give the appearance that an effort is being made

: included in a group only to prevent criticism that people of a particular kind are being unfairly left out

Full Definition of TOKEN

:  done or given as a token especially in partial fulfillment of an obligation or engagement <a token payment>
a :  representing no more than a symbolic effort :  minimal, perfunctory <token resistance> <token integration>
b :  serving or intended to show absence of discrimination <a token female employee>

First Known Use of TOKEN

TOKEN Defined for Kids


noun to·ken \ˈtō-kən\

Definition of TOKEN for Kids

:  an outer sign :  proof <“… you ought to take this for a plain and visible token that you are not to be a seafaring man.” — Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe>
:  a piece like a coin that has a special use <a bus token>
:  an object used to suggest something that cannot be pictured <This ring is a token of my affection.>
:  souvenir
:  indication 2


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