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

Noun please accept this parting gift as a token of our lasting affection Adjective 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, if a cheaper public option attracted younger, healthier people, that too could push private plans to be more competitive in hopes of winning back the most profitable of customers. David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Is Biden’s ‘public option’ for healthcare already dead?," 12 Nov. 2020 OKEx’s native token, which serves as a user loyalty program to incentivize trades, plunged 14%, according to data tracker CoinMarketCap. Zheping Huang,, "Chinese Police Investigation Halts Withdrawals at Cryptoexchange OKEx," 16 Oct. 2020 By the same token, Mr. Determann added, hefty fines are prompting smaller firms to keep minor data breaches to themselves. Angus Loten, WSJ, "Twitter Data-Breach Case Won’t Be Resolved Before Year’s End, Ireland’s Regulator Says," 14 Oct. 2020 One for each of Brenda's children, a token her eldest hopes his siblings, especially the younger ones, can remember her by. Stefan Sykes, NBC News, "Teen who became caretaker to 4 siblings after mother died of Covid-19 urges responsibility," 30 Oct. 2020 By the same token, teams like Detroit – or maybe the Raiders or Dolphins, also .500 teams on the playoff fringes – may be more reluctant to offload players. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL trade deadline: What moves should all 32 teams make?," 29 Oct. 2020 By the same token, Bengals punter Kevin Huber has quietly been one of the league’s best, averaging 48.6 yards per punt and limiting opposing return men to just 4.0 yards per return. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: 23 things to watch in Colts-Bengals," 17 Oct. 2020 The market capitalization of the exchange’s UNI token is about $560 million. Olga Kharif,, "DeFi Boom Makes Uniswap Most Sought-After Crypto Exchange," 16 Oct. 2020 Here's a token of good measure from TxDOT's deputy executive director. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, "TxDOT will fix error in highway sign, sometime," 23 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective For a while, this writer was the token male in the group. Kevin Dayhoff,, "Dayhoff: Year of the Woman honors anniversary of 19th Amendment passage," 20 Nov. 2020 And many hotels are taking token steps toward conservation like eliminating shampoo bottles and asking their guests to reuse towels. Jim Wyss,, "Pedal Power and Pigs Helped a Caribbean Resort Go Carbon-Neutral," 19 Nov. 2020 Fighting movies usually make some token wave at human beings, their deep wounds, their relationships, only to toss them aside for rear naked chokes and roundhouse kicks to the face. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, "Review: An aspiring MMA fighter with a legendary father is ‘Embattled’ in more ways than one," 18 Nov. 2020 There’s another argument for keeping at least a token presence in the country. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "The Biden doctrine: ‘Goodbye, America First. Hello, multilateralism’," 12 Nov. 2020 The report detailed cash missing from the park's $1 token machines and facility rental fees inappropriately discounted or waived. Michelle Hunter,, "Former Lafreniere Park manager pleads not guilty to charge of stealing $14K from Jefferson Parish," 10 Nov. 2020 The long-time GOP leader from Rochester has never faced more than token opposition for his reliably Republican district. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Democrats have Republicans on the defensive in traditionally safe Milwaukee suburbs," 30 Oct. 2020 What distinguishes fronting from true inclusion, however, is that fronting serves only the interests of the company and the (non-Black) people in power—and may well make the Black person in question feel like a token representative of their race. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "How to make sure your company isn’t “fronting” Black employees," 26 Oct. 2020 Yet despite two additional summits the following year, talks on eliminating North Korea’s nuclear arsenal produced little more than token gestures. Author: Joby Warrick, Simon Denyer, Anchorage Daily News, "As North Korea’s Kim wooed Trump with ‘love letters,’ he kept building his nuclear capability, intelligence shows," 1 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for token

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for token

Last Updated

20 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Token.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for token


How to pronounce token (audio)

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.

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