Monday, September 29, 2014


Terri asked about the word token, especially as it appears in a token of my esteem. The word originated in a wide cluster of related languages (Old Germanic, Old Scandinavian, Old English), and in each case it carried the meaning of teaching, demonstrating, or showing.

A token of my esteem is the equivalent of a sign or symbol of my esteem. The word token has gone through a number of meaning variations.

·      sign or evidence

·      characteristic mark

·      proof of authenticity

·      vestige or trace

·      omen or portent

·      password or badge

·      memorial keepsake

·      evidence of a right or privilege

·      medium of exchange in the shape of a coin

·      block of 250 sheets passed through a printing press

·      representative of an under-represented group

Some of the obsolete uses of token include a sign of the zodiac, the sign on an inn, the plague, an act demonstrating divine power, and a a sign meant to attract attention.

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