to·ken | \ ˈtō-kən \

Definition of token 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a piece resembling a coin issued for use (as for fare on a bus) by a particular group on specified terms

b : a piece resembling a coin issued as money by some person or body other than a de jure government

c : a unit of a cryptocurrency Bitcoin tokens

2 : an outward sign or expression his tears were tokens of his grief

3a : symbol, emblem a white flag is a token of surrender

b : an instance of a linguistic expression

4a : souvenir, keepsake

b : a small part representing the whole : indication this is only a token of what we hope to accomplish

c : something given or shown as a guarantee (as of authority, right, or identity)

5 : a member of a group (such as a minority) that is included within a larger group through tokenism especially : a token employee

6 : a distinguishing feature : characteristic

by the same token

: for the same reason



Definition of token (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : representing no more than a symbolic effort : minimal, perfunctory token resistance token integration

b : serving or intended to show absence of discrimination a token female employee

2 : done or given as a token especially in partial fulfillment of an obligation or engagement a token payment

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Choose the Right Synonym for token


sign, mark, token, note, symptom mean a discernible indication of what is not itself directly perceptible. sign applies to any indication to be perceived by the senses or the reason. encouraging signs for the economy mark suggests something impressed on or inherently characteristic of a thing often in contrast to general outward appearance. a mark of a good upbringing token applies to something that serves as a proof of something intangible. this gift is a token of our esteem note suggests a distinguishing mark or characteristic. a note of irony in her writing symptom suggests an outward indication of an internal change or condition. rampant crime is a symptom of that city's decay

Examples of token in a Sentence


please accept this parting gift as a token of our lasting affection


All the people who work there are men except for a couple of token women. The ad campaign features a few token minorities.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Plus, get $2 in tokens with the purchase of the meal, in honor of the first week of the spot’s new Korean Fried Chicken and mochi menu., "Beyond brunch: Last-minute, low-cost Mother's Day suggestions," 10 May 2018 In 2017 Benartzi helped create Bancor Protocol—a non-profit foundation specializing in currency conversion for cryptographic tokens. Morgen Peck, Glamour, "Cryptocurrency Is Not Just a Boys' Club," 24 Apr. 2018 ICOs are opportunities for investors to purchase the tokens that power a blockchain startup, typically before its product has gone live. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "Rest Easy, Cryptocurrency Fans: Ether and Bitcoin Aren't Securities," 14 June 2018 In order to nab the too-gouda-brie-true tokens of love and appreciation, Kraft is holding a special auction on eBay to close on June 12 at 5 p.m., CDT. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Kraft's 'ultimate last-minute Father's Day gift' is a block of cheese made to look like your dad," 12 June 2018 Every-where, love tokens are as traditional as plighting your troth, or just expressing an interest. A.a. Gill, A-LIST, "Fraught, But It Counts," 4 July 2018 Buy Photo The end of the SEPTA token really is upon the Philadelphia region. Patricia Madej,, "SEPTA ending token sales at third-party retailers this summer," 17 May 2018 Parents who grow weary of their kids bugging them for more tokens to play games at Chuck E. Cheese's pizza parlors are about to get a break. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Chuck E. Cheese's launches unlimited gaming option," 11 July 2018 What is known is that BitFury and its partners have mined more than 1 million tokens. Ilya Khrennikov,, "Million-Dollar Box Conjures Up a Fortune for Bitcoin Visionary," 19 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The token—much like a subway token—allows the buyer to get access to a service even if, as is the case with many ICOs, that service hasn’t been built yet. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "SEC Chair Blasts Lawyers Over 'Disturbing' ICOs," 23 Jan. 2018 But such deals would be the type of token understandings that make Putin look conciliatory without committing to much. Anna Arutunyan, Time, "No Matter What Happens in Helsinki, Putin Has Already Won," 10 July 2018 Cooler heads could have prevailed in 1839, although by the same token, hotter heads could have prevailed at any time since 1802. Ian Morris, New York Times, "The Opium War and the Humiliation of China," 2 July 2018 Venezuela’s plan for its own cryptocurrency include paying public workers in the digital token and using tax incentives to encourage its use, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News. Patricia Laya,, "Venezuela Plans Discounts, Tax Deals to Bolster Cryptocurrency," 16 Jan. 2018 As if things couldn't get any worse — this is family game blasphemy! — the thimble might not be the only token to go. Sarah Schreiber, Good Housekeeping, "Monopoly Just Got Rid of the Thimble and Now None of the Original Tokens Are Safe," 17 Feb. 2017 In January, the value of an XRP token briefly rose above $3, making a co-founder of the company, Chris Larsen, wealthier than Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for a short time, and Ripple worth more than most banks in the world. New York Times, "Here’s Some Cryptocurrency. Now Please Use It.," 1 July 2018 The most elaborate working crypto-economic model, however, is Steemit, an online forum which rewards its 1m or so registered users for posting contributions or rating content with real money in the form of steem, another sort of token. The Economist, "Raiders of the killer dappBlockchain technology may offer a way to re-decentralise the internet," 28 June 2018 While many networks are trying to become more egalitarian and progressive by merely giving viewers a token woman in a cast, that’s clearly not how television becomes more feminist. Ariana Romero,, "How Women Powered Westworld Season 2," 24 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of token


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1915, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for token


Middle English, from Old English tācen, tācn sign, token; akin to Old High German zeihhan sign, Greek deiknynai to show — more at diction

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Phrases Related to token

book token

Statistics for token

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for token

The first known use of token was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for token



English Language Learners Definition of token

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a round piece of metal or plastic that is used instead of money in some machines : an object that looks like a coin and is used in place of a coin

: something that is a symbol of a feeling, event, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of token (Entry 2 of 2)

—used to describe something that is done with very little effort and only to give the appearance that an effort is being made

: included in a group only to prevent criticism that people of a particular kind are being unfairly left out


to·ken | \ ˈtō-kən \

Kids Definition of token

1 : an outer sign : proof “… you ought to take this for a plain and visible token that you are not to be a seafaring man.” —Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

2 : a piece like a coin that has a special use a bus token

3 : an object used to suggest something that cannot be pictured This ring is a token of my affection.

4 : souvenir

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