Definition of betoken in English:

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Pronunciation: /bɪˈtəʊk(ə)n/


[with object] literary
1Be a sign of: she wondered if his cold, level gaze betokened indifference or anger
More example sentences
  • The reluctance to wave the big stick at employers does not betoken EU indifference.
  • The forfeiture occurred March 27, 2002, when, in a private act betokening an uneasy conscience, he signed the McCain-Feingold law expanding government regulation of the timing, quantity and content of political speech.
  • If, between the two, an outline faintly emerges of something betokening a system - implied through the press-release fog - then we shall have something to test against and compare with other documented cases affecting films.
1.1Be a warning or indication of (a future event): the falling comet betokened the true end of Merlin’s powers
More example sentences
  • Does this betoken a sea change Irish political tastes since the birth of the tiger?
  • Whether this betokens a change in the author's views or merely proves his ability to ride two different horses at once, we cannot tell.
  • Nonetheless, they betokened a major transformation in the history of religion and society in America, and my organization was ill-suited to do much other than complain about it.
indicate, be an indication of, signify, be a sign of, be evidence of, evidence, manifest, mean, denote, represent, show, demonstrate, bespeak
informal spell
presage, portend, augur, be an omen of, be a sign of, be a warning of, warn of, bode, foreshadow, foretell, prophesy, be a harbinger of, herald
literary foretoken, forebode, harbinger


Old English betācnian, from be- (as an intensifier) + tācnian 'signify', of Germanic origin; related to token.

Words that rhyme with betoken

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

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: be|token

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