• synonyms


[bih-toh-kuh n]
See more synonyms for betoken on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to give evidence of; indicate: to betoken one's fidelity with a vow; a kiss that betokens one's affection.
  2. to be or give a token or sign of; portend: a thunderclap that betokens foul weather; an angry word that betokens hostility.
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Origin of betoken

First recorded in 1125–75, betoken is from the Middle English word bitocnen, bitacnen. See be-, token
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

betide, note, signify, denote, omen, show, assert, express, portend, foreshadow, forebode, import, bespeak, augur, symbolize, presage, witness, foreshow

Examples from the Web for betoken

Historical Examples

  • There had been barely a glance between us to betoken the dreadfulness of the moment.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • It was empty, and neither horse nor man nor boy was there to betoken that it had an owner.

    Tom, Dick and Harry

    Talbot Baines Reed

  • Her voice was quiet, but it did not betoken indifference; he knew that she was not one to forget.

    The Long Portage

    Harold Bindloss

  • They betoken nervousness, of course—inherent nervousness, probably.


    Major Gambier-Parry

  • There are some barbarisms in it, which seem to betoken its antiquity.

British Dictionary definitions for betoken


verb (tr)
  1. to indicate; signifyblack clothes betoken mourning
  2. to portend; augur
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for betoken


late 12c., from be- + Old English tacnian "to signify," from tacn "sign" (see token). Related: Betokened; betokening.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper