• 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

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