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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.
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.
Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, No. XI.–April, 1851–Vol. II. Various

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.
The Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church lfric

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

verb (transitive)
to indicate; signify: black clothes betoken mourning
to portend; augur

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


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  • Betook

    simple past tense of betake. to cause to go (usually used reflexively): She betook herself to town. Archaic. to resort or have recourse to. Historical Examples Waking up one morning from her dream, she betook herself to the old market of the Temple, and began to try and get her money back. Lippincott’s Magazine of […]

  • Betray

    to deliver or expose to an enemy by treachery or disloyalty: Benedict Arnold betrayed his country. to be unfaithful in guarding, maintaining, or fulfilling: to betray a trust. to disappoint the hopes or expectations of; be disloyal to: to betray one’s friends. to reveal or disclose in violation of confidence: to betray a secret. to […]

  • Betroth

    to arrange for the marriage of; affiance (usually used in passive constructions): The couple was betrothed with the approval of both families. Archaic. to promise to marry. Historical Examples I will betroth her to your nephew, my beloved Montagu’s son. The Last Of The Barons, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton I betroth thee unto me according to […]

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