1. something serving to represent or indicate some fact, event, feeling, etc.; sign: Black is a token of mourning.
  2. a characteristic indication or mark of something; evidence or proof: Malnutrition is a token of poverty.
  3. a memento; souvenir; keepsake: The seashell was a token of their trip.
  4. something used to indicate authenticity, authority, etc.; emblem; badge: Judicial robes are a token of office.
  5. Also called token coin. a stamped piece of metal, issued as a limited medium of exchange, as for bus fares, at a nominal value much greater than its commodity value.
  6. anything of only nominal value similarly used, as paper currency.
  7. an item, idea, person, etc., representing a group; a part as representing the whole; sample; indication.
  8. Logic, Linguistics. a particular instance of a word, symbol, expression, sentence, or the like: A printed page might have twenty tokens of the single type-word “and.”Compare type(def 8).

verb (used with object)

  1. to be a token of; signify; symbolize.


  1. serving as a token: a token gift; a token male on an all-female staff.
  2. slight; perfunctory; minimal: token resistance.
  1. by the same token,
    1. in proof of which.
    2. moreover; furthermore: She has a talent as a painter, and by the same token has a sharp eye for detail.
  2. in token of, as a sign of; in evidence of: a ring in token of his love.


  1. an indication, warning, or sign of something
  2. a symbol or visible representation of something
  3. something that indicates authority, proof, or authenticity
  4. a metal or plastic disc, such as a substitute for currency for use in slot machines
  5. a memento
  6. a gift voucher that can be used as payment for goods of a specified value
  7. (modifier) as a matter of form only; nominala token increase in salary
  8. linguistics a symbol regarded as an individual concrete mark, not as a class of identical symbolsCompare type (def. 11)
  9. philosophy an individual instance: if the same sentence has different truth-values on different occasions of utterance the truth-value may be said to attach to the sentence-tokenCompare type (def. 13)
  10. by the same token moreover and for the same or a similar reason


  1. (tr) to act or serve as a warning or symbol of; betoken

Old English tacen “sign, symbol, evidence” (related to tæcan “show, explain, teach”), from Proto-Germanic *taiknan (cf. Old Saxon tekan, Old Norse teikn “zodiac sign, omen, token,” Old Frisian, Middle Dutch teken, Dutch teken, Old High German zeihhan, German zeichen, Gothic taikn “sign, token”), from PIE root *deik- “to show” (see teach).

Meaning “coin-like piece of stamped metal” is first recorded 1590s. Original sense of “evidence” is retained in by the same token (mid-15c.), originally “introducing a corroborating evidence.”


“nominal,” 1915, from token (n.). In integration sense, first recorded 1960.

see by the same token; in token of.

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