be·​to·​ken bi-ˈtō-kən How to pronounce betoken (audio)
betokened; betokening bi-ˈtōk-niŋ How to pronounce betoken (audio)

transitive verb

: to typify beforehand : presage
: to give evidence of : show

Example Sentences

the humor in his writing is never cruel, and betokens a warm and compassionate heart
Recent Examples on the Web The culture worker strikes also betoken something of a return to an earlier time of unionism. Alissa Quart, The New Republic, 29 Nov. 2022 Improbabilities compound and betoken a deeper murkiness in the novel’s vision. New York Times, 5 Apr. 2022 The European elections in May saw turnout rise for the first time ever, betokening the genuine Europeanisation of some political debates. The Economist, 17 Oct. 2019 Banks employ armies of people in back offices, looking for discrepancies that may betoken fraud or honest error. The Economist, 22 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'betoken.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of betoken was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near betoken

Cite this Entry

“Betoken.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


be·​to·​ken bi-ˈtō-kən How to pronounce betoken (audio)
betokened; betokening -ˈtōk-(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce betoken (audio)
: to be a sign of : indicate

More from Merriam-Webster on betoken

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