• Token


    • UK IPA: /ˈtəʊkən/
    • US IPA: /ˈtoʊkən/
    • Rhymes: -əʊkən


    From Middle English token, taken, from Old English tācen ("symbol, sign, signal, mark, indication, suggestion; portent, marvel, wonder, miracle; evidence, proof: standard, banner"), from Proto-Germanic *taikną ("sign, token"), from Proto-Indo-European *deyǵ-, *deyḱ- ("to show, instruct, teach"). Cognate with Scots taiken ("sign, token"), West Frisian teken ("sign, token"), Dutch teken ("sign, symbol, token"), German Zeichen ("sign"), Swedish tecken ("sign, mark, indication, token"), Icelandic tákn, teikn ("sign, symbol"), Latin index ("finger", literally pointer), Ancient Greek δείκνυμι (deiknumi, "show, point out, teach"), Albanian theks ("accent, sign"). More at toe.

    Full definition of token



    (plural tokens)
    1. Something serving as an expression of something else; sign, symbolAccording to the Bible, the rainbow is a token of God's covenant with Noah.
    2. A keepsake, momento, souvenirPlease accept this bustier as a token of our time together.
    3. A piece of stamped metal used as a substitute for money; a voucher that can be exchanged for goods or servicesSubway 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.
      • ShakespeareSay, by this token, I desire his company.
    5. Support for a belief; grounds for an opinion; reason, reasoning, witcraft (see usage)
    6. An extraordinary event serving as evidence of supernatural power, a miracle
    7. An object or disclosure to attest or authenticate the bearer or an instruction; a 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.
      • unknown date ShakespeareSay, by this token, I desire his company.
    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. Also called a symbol.
      • 2004, Randall Hyde, Write Great Code: Understanding the Machine, page 68For 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. (grammar) A lexeme; a basic, grammatically indivisible unit of a language such as a keyword, operator or identifier.
    15. (medical) A characteristic sign of a disease or of a bodily disorder, a symptom; a sign of a bodily condition, recovery, or health.
    16. (medical, obsolete) A livid spot upon the body, indicating, or supposed to indicate, the approach of death.
      • unknown date'' Beaumont and FletcherLike the fearful tokens of the plague, Are mere forerunners of their ends.
    17. (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.
    18. (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.
    19. (mining) A thin bed of coal indicating the existence of a thicker seam at no great distance.
    20. (rail transport) A physical object used for exchange between drivers and signalmen on single track lines.
    21. (weaving) In a loom, a colored signal to show the weaver which shuttle to use.
    22. (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.


    • (something serving as an expression of something else) sign, symbol
    • (atomic piece of data) symbol

    Derived terms



    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 393If 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 176There 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, 2008Just 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
      • ''the television show was primarily directed toward a negro audience, but it did have a few token whites as performers


    1. To betoken, indicate, portend, designate, denote
    2. To betroth
    3. (philosophy) To symbolize, instantiate
      • August 27, In which sense does ‘∀p ~(p & ~p)’ cause the tokening of the belief in the subject?

    Derived terms

    © Wiktionary