AskDefine | Define token

Dictionary Definition

token adj : insignificantly small; a matter of form only (`tokenish' is informal); "the fee was nominal"; "a token gesture of resistance"; "a tokenish gesture" [syn: nominal, token(a), tokenish]


1 an individual instance of a type of symbol; "the word`error' contains three tokens of `r'" [syn: item]
2 a metal or plastic disk that can be used (as a substitute for coins) in slot machines
3 something of sentimental value [syn: keepsake, souvenir, relic]

User Contributed Dictionary



From tacen, from |*taiknam. Cognate with Dutch teken, German Zeichen, Swedish tecken.



  1. Done as an indication or a pledge; perfunctory, minimal or merely symbolic
    He made a token tap on the brake pedal at the stop sign.


merely symbolic


  1. Something or someone serving as an expression of something else.
  2. A keepsake or souvenir.
  3. A piece of stamped metal used as a substitute for money.
  4. An atomic piece of data (esp. the text of a computer program) for which a meaning may be inferred during parsing. Also called a symbol.

Derived terms


something serving as an expression of something else
keepsake or souvenir
  • Dutch: aandenken, souvenir
piece of stamped metal used as a substitute for money
atomic piece of data





Extensive Definition

Token may refer to:
  • Token (railway signalling), a physical object given to a locomotive driver to authorize him to use a particular stretch of single railway track
  • Token coin, a piece of metal or other composition used as a substitute for currency; includes subway tokens
  • Tokenism, the inclusion of a single person (or very few people) of a group so an organization can publicly claim to be inclusive
  • Token character, a supporting character in a story who has no real relevance to the plot but is included to conform to expected standards, such as featuring ethnic minorities in a cast of a predominantly other ethnicity.
  • Knight's token, carried by a medieval knight
  • In philosophy, computational linguistics, and information retrieval, a token is an instance of a type; see Type-token distinction

Popular culture


There are two classes of meaning of 'token' in computing:
  • An object which represents the (often exclusive) right to perform some operation:
    • Token (Petri Net), an object used in Petri net theory
    • Session token, a unique identifier which is generated and sent from a server to a software client to identify an interaction session and which the client usually stores as an HTTP cookie
    • Security token (also known as a hardware token, authentication token or cryptographic token), a physical device that an authorized user of computer services is given to aid in authentication
    • Access token, a system object representing the subject of access control operations
    • Token ring, a local area network technology in which a virtual object known as a token is passed between devices on the network, authorizing them to communicate
    • Invitation tokens, sometimes called "codes", sometimes used as a method of curbing website registration for a number of purposes.
  • An atomic object in parsing:
    • Token (parser), usually a word or other atomic parse element
    • Tokenizing, the operation of splitting a string of characters into a set of tokens in lexical analysis


token in German: Token
token in French: Token
token in Italian: Token
token in Finnish: Token
token in Swedish: Token

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

account, adumbration, affect, agent, allegory, alternate, alternative, analogy, annals, aroma, attribute, augur, augury, auspice, backup, badge, baggage check, basis for belief, betoken, betokening, betokenment, billhead, body of evidence, book stamp, bookplate, brand, brandish, breathe, bring forth, bring forward, bring into view, bring out, bring to notice, broad arrow, budget, cachet, cast, catalog, chain of evidence, change, changeling, character, characteristic, charactery, cheap, check, chronicle, cipher, clue, coin, colophon, commemoration, comparison, configuration, conventional symbol, copy, correspondence, cosmetic, counter, counterfeit, counterfoil, countermark, countersign, coupon, cut, dangle, data, datum, demonstrate, deputy, develop, differentia, differential, disc, disclose, display, distinctive feature, divine, divulge, docket, documentation, double, dramatize, dummy, earmark, earnest, easy, economic, economy, emblem, emblematic, embody, enact, equal, equivalent, ersatz, evidence, evince, exchange, exhibit, expose to view, express, fact, facts, fake, favor, feature, figure, fill-in, flaunt, flavor, flourish, foreshadow, foreshadowing, foreshowing, foretoken, foretokening, frugal, gesture, ghost, ghostwriter, give sign, give token, glosseme, government mark, government stamp, grounds, grounds for belief, gust, hallmark, harbinger, hat check, highlight, hint, history, icon, iconology, ideogram, idiocrasy, idiosyncrasy, illuminate, imitation, impress, impression, imprint, incarnate, index, indicant, indicate, indication, indicator, individualism, inexpensive, inventory, item of evidence, keepsake, keynote, label, letterhead, letters, lexeme, lexical form, lineaments, list, locum tenens, logo, logogram, logotype, love knot, low, low-priced, make clear, make plain, makeshift, manageable, manifest, manifestation, mannerism, mark, marker, marking, masthead, material grounds, materialize, mean, memento, memento mori, memorabilia, memorial, memorials, memories, metaphor, metonymy, minimal, mock, moderate, modest, mold, morpheme, muniments, mute witness, nature, next best thing, nominal, odor, omen, open sesame, parade, particularity, password, pawn, peculiarity, perform, perfunctory, personnel, phony, phrase, pictogram, piece of evidence, pinch, pinch hitter, pipe roll, plate, point to, portent, prefiguration, prefigure, preindicate, preindication, premises, premonitory shiver, premonitory sign, premonitory symptom, present, presign, presignal, presignify, presignifying, pretypify, price tag, produce, prognostic, prognostication, promise, proof, property, provisional, proxy, quality, quirk, reason to believe, reasonable, record, recording, register, registered trademark, registry, relevant fact, relic, relief, remains, remembrance, remembrancer, reminder, replacement, represent, representative, reserve, reserves, reveal, ringer, roll, roll out, rolls, roster, rota, running head, running title, savor, scrip, scroll, seal, second string, secondary, secret grip, security, semasiological unit, sememe, sensible, set forth, shabby, shadow, shape, shibboleth, shoddy, show, show forth, sigil, sign, signet, signifiant, significant, signify, singularity, slight, slug, smack, soothsay, souvenir, spare, spares, specialty, spell, spotlight, stamp, stand-in, sticker, stopgap, stub, sub, substituent, substitute, substitution, succedaneum, superficial, superseder, supplanter, surface, surrogate, symbol, symbolic, symbolic system, symbolism, symbolization, symbology, symptom, synecdoche, table, tag, taint, tally, tang, taste, temporary, tentative, term, tessera, third string, ticket, title page, token of remembrance, tokening, totem, totem pole, trace, trade name, trademark, trademark name, trait, trick, trophy, trot out, type, typify, understudy, unexpensive, unfold, utility, utility player, vestige, vicar, vicarious, vice-president, vice-regent, warrant, watchword, wave, within means, word, worth the money
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