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[bih-toh-kuh n] /bɪˈtoʊ kən/
verb (used with object)
to give evidence of; indicate:
to betoken one's fidelity with a vow; a kiss that betokens one's affection.
to be or give a token or sign of; portend:
a thunderclap that betokens foul weather; an angry word that betokens hostility.
Origin of betoken
1125-75; Middle English bitocnen, bitacnen. See be-, token Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for betoken
Historical Examples
  • There are inns and shops which betoken an active trade, maintained probably by the lead mines in the neighbourhood.

    A Month in Yorkshire Walter White
  • There had been barely a glance between us to betoken the dreadfulness of the moment.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • There was no alarm given, and not a sign or a sound of any kind to betoken that any one had seen them.

    Told in the East Talbot Mundy
  • Her voice was quiet, but it did not betoken indifference; he knew that she was not one to forget.

    The Long Portage Harold Bindloss
  • Mr. M. I think it probable that mackerel clouds betoken wet, just as a mackerel's self Puts us in mind of water.

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

    'Murphy' Major Gambier-Parry
  • The five loaves which the lad bare, betoken the five books which the leader Moses appointed in the old law.

  • On the contrary, everything seemed to betoken a happy future.

    The Real Gladstone J. Ewing Ritchie
  • Then was a little confusion, and they stopped, not knowing what this war-stained troop might betoken.

    Wulfric the Weapon Thane Charles W. Whistler
  • She has an air about her that seems to betoken wealth and distinction.

    Dolly's College Experiences Mabel Cronise Jones
British Dictionary definitions for betoken


verb (transitive)
to indicate; signify: black clothes betoken mourning
to portend; augur
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
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Word Origin and History for betoken

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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