to·​ken | \ ˈtō-kən How to pronounce token (audio) \

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
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

Tonight: On the way home, buy a card or some other token of affection., "Horoscope," 25 June 2019 Previously, Facebook suggested more speculative uses to potential partners, including using the tokens to compensate users or content providers on the platform. Parmy Olson, WSJ, "Facebook Unveils Cryptocurrency Libra in Bid to Reshape Finance," 18 June 2019 He make Johnson's night with the token of appreciation. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Courage Award winner Adonis Watt gives Cardinals RB David Johnson gift with 'David' in Braille: 'I'll keep this in my locker'," 10 June 2019 All around her, fringing every icon, tied by silk ribbons, were modern votive offerings: tin or stamped metal tokens of arms and legs and ears and mouths, appealing for healing for a diseased or damaged human part. Adam Gopnik, Town & Country, "My First Visit to the Greek Islands Turned Out to Be a Journey Home," 20 May 2019 That said, possibly the best token of all is one that ensures a solid night’s sleep—pick up Slip's brightly printed sleep mask, which is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "12 Beauty Gifts to Spoil Your Host This Memorial Day Weekend," 20 May 2019 Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC and its billionaire chief Vladimir Potanin are planning several digital platforms, including using crypto tokens for trading palladium. Yuliya Fedorinova,, "Russia's Richest Man Plans Crypto Tokens Backed by Palladium," 27 Mar. 2019 In some cases, those login tokens allow developers to request information like birthdays, or access to calendars, as well. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "App Makers Are Mixed on ‘Sign In With Apple’," 15 June 2019 The agency also notes that Kik’s digital tokens have lost half their value since the sale. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Does the SEC's ICO Lawsuit Against Kik Go Too Far?," 6 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Grain Foundation has postponed its public token sale to later this month as the company seeks to fully comply with Swiss ICO rules, Chief Executive Onno Hektor said in a post on The Medium, an online publishing platform. The Christian Science Monitor, "Global regulators crack down on digital currency sales," 14 Mar. 2018 Maduro’s claims about petro don’t add up Setting up a token sale using an existing blockchain is easy compared with launching an entirely new blockchain from scratch. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Venezuela says its cryptocurrency raised $735 million—but it’s a farce," 22 Feb. 2018 The traditional piña colada, loaded with Bacardi rum, cream of coconut and pineapple came dressed with the token umbrella and was a smooth-sipping treat that begged for a backdrop of Jimmy Buffet music. Chuck Blount,, "52 Weeks of Burgers: Hawks Burger Bar," 14 June 2019 The one-time token numbers are short-lived, but they can still be obtained by quick-moving attackers who enter credentials into a real Google account immediately after a target enters them in to a look-alike phishing site. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "I’ll be passing on Google’s new 2fa for logins on iPhones and iPads. Here’s why," 12 June 2019 One other factor that could give Dfinity an advantage is its by-the-books approach to regulation, which poses a significant challenge, especially in the United States where the SEC has cracked down on token offerings of all sorts. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Exclusive: Dfinity Annouces $35M 'Air Drop' for Blockchain-Based Cloud," 29 May 2018 Ethics washing refers to the tactics companies employ to avoid substantial oversight, like announcing advisory boards, employing token measures like incognito modes, and even calling for the government to (lightly) rein in the industry. Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic, "More Privacy Still Isn’t Privacy," 4 June 2019 By that same token, New York Fashion Week’s over-18 policy only came after the CFDA and Vogue united to pledge to only hire models who fit the bill. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Kering Commits to Using Models Over 18: Will the Rest of the Fashion World Follow Suit?," 15 May 2019 Last year, Kik sold nearly $100 million worth of its token, known as Kin. New York Times, "Despite Caution Over Cryptocurrency, Investors Are Bullish," 27 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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Statistics for token

Last Updated

4 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce token (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on token

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with token

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for token

Spanish Central: Translation of token

Nglish: Translation of token for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of token for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about token

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