[ toh-kuh-niz-uhm ]
See synonyms for tokenism on
  1. the practice or policy of making no more than a token effort or gesture, as in offering opportunities to minorities equal to those of the majority.

  2. any legislation, admissions policy, hiring practice, etc., that demonstrates only minimal compliance with rules, laws, or public pressure: Admitting one woman to the men's club was merely tokenism.

Origin of tokenism

First recorded in 1960–65; token + -ism

Other words from tokenism

  • to·ken·is·tic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for tokenism


/ (ˈtəʊkəˌnɪzəm) /

  1. the practice of making only a token effort or doing no more than the minimum, esp in order to comply with a law

Derived forms of tokenism

  • tokenistic, adjective

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