Definition of token in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtōkən/


1A thing serving as a visible or tangible representation of a fact, quality, feeling, etc. mistletoe was cut from an oak tree as a token of good fortune I wanted to offer you a small token of my appreciation
More example sentences
  • Except for a few very visible tokens, the voices and lives of women are trivialized, if not simply cropped out of the scene altogether, and this is the crux of the problem.
  • His work was almost always meant to have the quality of a personal token, rather than that of an object for public display.
  • In the 1800s, puzzle purses became popular: the Valentine was carefully folded, so its recipient had to refold it to read the messages and find the love tokens concealed therein.
symbol, sign, emblem, badge, representation, indication, mark, manifestation, expression, pledge, demonstration, recognition;
evidence, proof
memento, souvenir, keepsake, reminder, remembrance, memorial
1.1 archaic A characteristic or distinctive sign or mark, especially a badge or favor worn to indicate allegiance to a particular person or party.
1.2 archaic A word or object conferring authority on or serving to authenticate the speaker or holder.
1.3chiefly British A staff or other object given to a locomotive engineer on a single-track railroad as authority to proceed over a given section of line.
2A voucher that can be exchanged for goods or services, typically one given as a gift or offered as part of a promotional offer: redeem this token for a free dessert
More example sentences
  • So if your budget stretches to it, a book or record token or gift voucher as well may not go amiss.
  • Keep and use all the coupons and tokens you get free, but only if they're for items you would buy anyway.
  • The other two section winners each receive £75 shopping vouchers and leisure tokens as well as a trophy.
2.1A metal or plastic disk used to operate a machine or in exchange for particular goods or services.
Example sentences
  • The gaming system avoids having to use coins or tokens in the operation of slot machines.
  • They were operated by tokens rather than money.
  • The couple say they got into trouble when a woman and her Jamaican boyfriend gave them tokens for gambling machines in a casino during the holiday.
3An individual occurrence of a symbol or string, in particular.
Example sentences
  • Of course, one cannot write down a token of this infinite string.
  • I'll leave the details to smarter people, but it is essentially a statistical method in which individual tokens are mapped to probabilities.
3.1 Linguistics An individual occurrence of a linguistic unit in speech or writing, as contrasted with the type or class of linguistic unit of which it is an instance. Contrasted with type.
Example sentences
  • In other words, speech sounds are merely the arbitrary tokens whereby linguistic exchange is carried out.
  • As we increase the size of the corpus, the number of tokens of the morpheme will obviously increase.
  • The percentage of tokens covered in this small academic corpus did not differ substantially from the percentage of tokens covered in the first part.
3.2 Computing The smallest meaningful unit of information in a sequence of data for a compiler.
Example sentences
  • The operator starts with a literal hyphen, which is followed by a variable token, an expression and an optional block.
4 Computing A sequence of bits passed continuously between nodes in a fixed order and enabling a node to transmit information.
Example sentences
  • The first field of bytes which is of fixed length is always present in every message and taken together, these bytes represent a unique message identifier called a token.
  • This might involve the use of tokens or hard-to-break passwords, but the most important thing is that it is designed into how the applications are accessed and used in day-to-day work.
  • This is typically done with a unique identifier such as a user name, ID card or a token.


1Done for the sake of appearances or as a symbolic gesture: cases like these often bring just token fines from the courts
More example sentences
  • How does an apathetic agnostic even begin to redress a quarter-century of token gestures and guest appearances at church?
  • Neither side called him, and he made one token appearance at the trial.
  • But even the head acknowledges that her school is beyond such token gestures.
symbolic, emblematic;
perfunctory, slight, nominal, minimal, minor, mild, superficial, inconsequential
1.1 [attributive] (Of a person) chosen by way of tokenism as a representative of a particular minority or underrepresented group: she took offense at being called the token woman on the force
More example sentences
  • The second problem is that there is no way to police if the teams are just interviewing these minorities as token candidates to fit under the guidelines.
  • She says U.S. companies boast diversity by including one token minority in advertisements and on TV shows.
  • A funny, feisty couple, they joke about being token minority characters.



by the same token

In the same way or for the same reason: there was little evidence to substantiate the gossip and, by the same token, there was little to disprove it
More example sentences
  • Popularity need not be equated with the destruction of intellectual values and, by the same token, accessibility need not threaten traditional archival and custodial roles.
  • It is convenient to claim that what goes on in other countries is no business of ours and by the same token that foreigners should keep their noses out of what happens inside our borders.
  • We're not trying to make a point of being laid-back but, by the same token, you do not want to be gratuitously intense, because that becomes your message.

in token of

As a sign or symbol of: we bought each other drinks in token of the holiday season
More example sentences
  • He was joined by disciples, the first members of the Franciscan order for which he drew up the rule in 1209, the principal characteristic of which was humility, in token of which they called themselves ‘Friari Minori’.
  • All the performers wore cloth caps, in token of the proletarian poet whose doggerel verses about the Tay Bridge and its collapse in 1879 provided the work's text.
  • On Wednesday, in token of their appreciation of his courtesy, the passengers on the Great Lever car subscribed for and presented to him a handsome clock.


Old English tāc(e)n, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch teken and German Zeichen, also to teach.

  • ‘He gave him…a cordial slap on the back, and some other equally gentle tokens of satisfaction’, wrote the novelist Fanny Burney in 1778. She was using token in the meaning it had had since Anglo-Saxon times, ‘a sign or symbol’. In the 17th and 18th centuries there was often a scarcity of small coins, and tradesmen issued their own coin-shaped pieces of metal to exchange for goods or cash. Such a disc was a token as it ‘symbolized’ or substituted for real money. Use of the word for a voucher, as in a book token, dates from the early 20th century.

Words that rhyme with token

awoken, bespoken, betoken, broken, foretoken, oaken, outspoken, plain-spoken, ryokan, spoken, woken

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: to·ken

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