a token gesture

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - token gesture

"a token gesture"

an action or decision that is so small or inconsequential as to be only symbolic


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - token gesture

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  I hear you got a promotion.

Colleague 2:  I did but I fear that it is nothing more than a token gesture on the part of management.

Colleague 1:  There has been a lot of press lately about the lack of gender equality in upper management in our company.

Colleague 2:  Right.  So my promotion is only a very small move in the right direction.  The overall male-dominated patriarchal philosophy of the company is really what needs to change.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - token gesture

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  I'm having some serious issues with my roommate. He is such a slob and always leaves the apartment in a total mess. I talked to him yesterday about the problem and told him that he either has to start cleaning up after himself or move out.

Friend 2:  And what happened?

Friend 1:  He did the vacuuming.

Friend 2:  That's it? Seems like a token gesture just to appease you.  What about all the rest of his mess?

Friend 1:  Nothing. Still a disaster.

a token gesture - Usage:


a token gesture - Gerund Form:

There is no gerund form for a token gesture.

a token gesture - Examples:

1)  ... conflict ensured that Canada's contribution, albeit small, would be more than a token gesture of imperial solidarity.

2)  If community members prepare small amounts of food, even as a token gesture, for their committee meetings, they will be less likely to be suspected ...

3)  ... whilst reassuring me, gave me two brightly colored small pretty ribbons as a token gesture. So random and yet it meant so much.

4)  Think about it -- how impressed would you be to receive a token gesture card that had no message, a stamped signature and very little in the ...

5)  ... renting a room as well. I now pay 150 a month which is a token gesture really; I think the house mate pays over 300.

6)  Do you feel Nestle's Fairtrade certification for Kit Kat is a token gesture since the vast majority of their confectionery products are not Fairtrade certified?

7)  Sacrificing Preziosi at this point smacks of a token gesture of atonement by Ducati management, a symbolic purification ritual to assure their new ...

8)  ... presenting a vague time-line in a token gesture toward establishing context for the reader.

9)  Then a few arrests thrown in, nothing major, a token gesture, and everything will be fine and dandy and buried for good.

10)  ... decides that a clean image will be good for business, so they make a token gesture here and there. Hardly the stuff that will achieve sustainability.

11)  Some players feel that the' Kick It Out' campaign has become a token gesture and that the fight against racism should be more vigorous.

12)  Rooney as captain is therefore likely to be a one-off and a bit of a token gesture -- a pat on the back.

13)  So I concluded that it's just a token gesture rather than a practical solution if things went pear shaped.

14)  Nearly everyone who does call in gets a prize, but it's a token gesture, particularly when compared with all the money you have spent on the phone ...

15)  It's not a token gesture but a great work he's done to show me. 

16)  Fenians staged an armed uprising in 1867. The rising was no more than a token gesture and was easily put down.

17)  ... just as often as sustainability is caught out to be a token gesture in many design projects today.

18)  Sorry but a meaningless token gesture doesn't deserve too much credit in my book.

19)  ... rather than simply rejecting him or her. It would be nice to get a token gesture of appreciation e.g. a year's free subscription, ...

20)  Bio fuels can make little more than a token gesture to meeting our energy needs, and only at huge cost.