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

By the same token, Israel is now energy-independent and may soon become a major regional oil-producing partner and exporter. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Israel’s Good and Bad New Realities," 3 Sep. 2019 The largest digital token fell as much as 5.6%, before trading at $9,686 as of 3:40 p.m. in New York. Vildana Hajric, Fortune, "Why Today’s Cryptocurrency Crash Could, in Part, Be Blamed on Burning Man," 28 Aug. 2019 By that same token, the San Antonio Spurs’ streak of 22 consecutive postseason appearances is in jeopardy. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Nuggets’ continuity gives them edge in loaded Western Conference, GM Arturas Karnisovas says," 29 July 2019 Residents of Massachusetts, by the same token, aren’t morally culpable for executions in Texas. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "We Are All Executioners Now," 25 July 2019 The phony webpage is the SEC's latest gambit to try to convince the investing public that ICOs -- in which companies sell digital tokens that can eventually be redeemed for goods or services -- are highly susceptible to fraud. Matt Robinson,, "SEC tries to scam ICO investors to show them how easy it is," 16 May 2018 Can other businesses still sell tokens beyond Monday? Michael Boren,, "Today is the last day SEPTA will sell tokens to most riders," 30 Apr. 2018 Rather than using your Apple Card account number, a unique token — useless to a hacker — is generated to complete each transaction. NBC News, "Does the new Apple Card live up to all the hype?," 26 Aug. 2019 Cure a city to get back a time token; cure all the affected cities to win. Aaron Zimmerman, Ars Technica, "The hottest new board games from Gen Con 2019," 10 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Unlike Facebook, which released public plans for its digital money long before the first token was ready, Telegram has largely proceeded in secrecy. New York Times, "Telegram Pushes Ahead With Plans for ‘Gram’ Cryptocurrency," 27 Aug. 2019 Instead of a physical card, what fans will own is a clip of video that's been converted into a unique digital token and inscribed on a blockchain. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Want to Own Kawhi’s Jump Shot? NBA and Crypto Kitties Maker Launch Digital Collectibles," 31 July 2019 The most important reason for the optimism is Facebook’s plans to launch its own crypto token, Libra, next year, which may make an outright ban difficult. Nupur Anand, Quartz India, "What are the options for an Indian investor if bitcoin is completely banned?," 21 June 2019 In its complaint, the SEC alleges Kik marketed its token, known as kin, as an investment opportunity, emphasizing potential returns to early buyers. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "This Case Could Change How the SEC Regulates Cryptocurrencies," 4 June 2019 With that immense wealth should come real responsibility—not token remorse. Paul Gross, The New Republic, "Those Profiting off the Vaping Epidemic Should Pay to Stop It," 13 Aug. 2019 Sun created a cryptocurrency called TRX token in 2017 and has been a longtime advocate of the industry. Michelle Toh, CNN, "Crypto entrepreneur postpones $4.6 million lunch with Warren Buffett," 23 July 2019 But as often happens, the reporter treated this as a bit of token skepticism rather than a reason to rethink the whole story. Faye Flam, Twin Cities, "Faye Flam: Some things are scary. ‘Horns’ from smartphone use aren’t.," 6 July 2019 Since then, its stock has lost nearly 60% of its value, the one-time industrial stalwart cut its dividend to a token penny a share and the company has been kicked out of the blue-chip index. Corrie Driebusch, WSJ, "In the Stock Market, It’s a Dog-Eat-Dow World," 23 Dec. 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

12 Sep 2019

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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 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

Comments on token

What made you want to look up token? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

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