Share this entry

tokenism Line breaks: token|ism
Pronunciation: /ˈtəʊk(ə)nɪz(ə)m/

Definition of tokenism in English:


[mass noun]
The practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing, especially by recruiting a small number of people from under-represented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce: the use of gay supporting characters is mere tokenism
More example sentences
  • Simply electing a few women to assume key political positions is mere tokenism, and should fool no one.
  • As quota critics have long maintained, heavy-handed quota schemes don't promote true racial diversity, only politically correct tokenism.
  • I am inclined to think that such moves are mere tokenism.



Pronunciation: /təʊk(ə)ˈnɪstɪk/
Example sentences
  • The result was largely tokenistic, with few of the female members feeling welcome there.
  • Despite a revived interest in Scottish identity in recent years, the teaching of Scottish history is patchy and tokenistic with glaring gaps spanning hundreds of years.
  • Maybe her new job will be the making of her; on the evidence we have so far, however, it is difficult to see her appointment as anything but entirely tokenistic.

Definition of tokenism in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fɔːˈtɪsɪməʊ
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly