By the same token (phrase) definition and synonyms

From an Old English verb meaning “to show,” in the broadest sense a token is “something that serves to lớn indicate a fact; a sign or a symbol.” The sign could be miraculous or merely evidence of something:


I vì phối my bow in the cloud, & it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. –Genesis, 9:13, KJV

God granted these holy men a gracious token that the famine had lifted

The retiring employee received a watch as a token of the company’s appreciation.

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As a physical object, a token may be a metal or plastic disk that serves lớn show that money has been paid for transportation or admission (e.g., a bus token). Board games lượt thích Monopoly include tokens used in play.

The expression “by the same token” means “for the same reason” or “in the same way.” Here are two correct examples of its use:

there was little evidence to lớn substantiate the gossip and, by the same token, there was little to lớn disprove it –example, OxfordDictionaries

because his mind is flexible it responds quickly … khổng lồ what is before it, và by the same token it can Gọi up from within a host of appropriate ideas example, Merriam-Webster

As is happening to many venerable expressions in this age of limited reading of traditional literature, “by the same token” is being altered by speakers who aren’t quite sure how to use it:

However at the same token, this same conversation could apply to couples who go through that process together…

In the same token, it cannot disregard basic issues of translation theory.

Does my toàn thân include the oxyren I am about to inhale and, on the same token, should I include the air I am about lớn exhale?

Not only is the preposition by being incorrectly replaced by at, in or on, the meaning is being lost:

I don’t dislike dogs (or other animals), but by the same token, I don’t want them in my house.

Here the meaning seems lớn be “on the other h&.”

With a documentation date of 1463, “by the same token” has had a good run in English. Could be that the expression–for some speakers at least–has reached retirement age.

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5 Responses to “By the Same Token”

Rich Wheeleron April 27, 2014 7:03 am

Ouch! Those abuses of the term are painful!

I had not thought about the expression. Thank you for this post.

Dale A. Woodon April 27, năm trước 11:54 am

I agree with Rich:Those abuses of the phrase “by the same token” are painful to see or to hear. “On the other hand” is also abused.

In a deliberately humorous case, I have sầu heard of two members of the legislature of an Asian country lượt thích Singapore or Malaysia, both with the surname of “Foote”. Of course, they were in opposing parties. On one contentious issue, one of them said “The Wrong Foote does not know what the Right Foote is doing,” or words lớn that effect. (I read this years ago.) Naturally, the speaker was claiming to be the Right Foote, & he was blaming the other with being the Wrong Foote.

You might not have sầu heard of it, but there are people with names like “Sir Peter Foote”.Of course, he adapted his statement from “The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.”

Dale A. Woodon April 27, năm trước 12:24 pm

In local area networks (LANs), there is also the “Token Ring network”. In this type of LAN, the different stations are arranged in a logical circle. There is a small electronic message called the TOKEN that can circulate around the ring in one direction only, và messages circulate in that same direction. Only the station in possession of the token is allowed lớn “speak” (transmit), và after it sends one message, it passes the token along khổng lồ the next station. Hence, messages are never allowed khổng lồ “collide” with one another. The “token” here corresponds with the token on a Parcheham mê board or a Monopoly board. The Token Ring network was developed by the IBM corporation decades ago.

The token-ring stategy is vastly different from a LAN system like the Ethernet. Ethernet is a popular kind of a “contention” network in which collisions are allowed to lớn occur, but the system is designed so that the probability of collision is supposed to be low. Also, there is a collision-detection and retransmission system in Ethernet. A problem with an Ethernet is that once one becomes overloaded, its performance becomes VERY poor because it has so many retransmissions on it. These lead to lớn a cascade of more & more collisions. An advantage of the Ethernet is that it is generally less costly than a Token Ring network. So, there is a trade-off between cost & performance.

The Ethernet traces its origins baông xã to a radio-based digital communication system that was developed at the University of Hawaii. It was one of the first systems khổng lồ send messages in packets. Since it was from Hawaii, naturally this system was named ALOHA. Wow. Some communication engineers from California visited the Univ. of Hawaii, & after they saw ALOHA in action, they went back khổng lồ their laboratories & they decided to adapt the idea of ALOHA lớn a LAN for groups of computers. (ALOHA is a khung of a WAN = wide area network.)I have sầu also seen ALOHA applied to certain kinds of satellite communications networks where it works very well. Thus, you could use ALOHA in the Lower 48 States, or Canadomain authority, to skết thúc messages back & forth khổng lồ Hawaii. ALOHA Hawaii !D.A.W.

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venqaxon April 27, 2014 4:38 pm

Not only is the preposition by being incorrectly replaced by at, in or on, the meaning is being lost:

Uh oh. Now we’re going to get a tsunamày of all the prepositions besides by that might theoretically replace it in the phrase. “Upon the same token” will probably be first. “Concerning the same token” cchiến bại behind. Then someone will point out that “on the same token” is fine, because you could be talking about an actual token, lượt thích a bus token, và there could be something “on” it for a second, or other iterated time (follow here with a long danh mục of things that could be on a token: dust, lint, piece of peanut shell, piece of a different peanut shell, piece of actual peanut related or not related khổng lồ aforementioned shells…). So you could say, “there is something on the same token as there was before.” Which still would still initiate puzzlement, but you get the picture. Or, the if the foreign object were nearby, rather than on, “at the same token…” is accurate. If The Token were the name of a ship! Then one could be “aboard the same Token” as someone else. You have sầu khổng lồ be thorough about these things, FGS!

Now, what were you saying about meaning being lost?

venqaxon April 28, 2014 7:37 pm

“…you could use ALOHA in the Lower 48 States, or Canadomain authority, lớn skết thúc messages bachồng và forth khổng lồ Hawaii. In Hawaiian aloha means hello & goodbye so the fact you could skết thúc messages both lớn AND from Hawaii is probably why they called it that. …& in Hawaiian aloha means means both “serious” và “silly and ridiculous”. Hawaiian is an very aloha language.

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