By the same token

By the same token is an idiom that has been in use for decades. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom by the same token, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

By the same token is a phrase that means the statement you are about to make is true because of the same reasons that made the previous statement true. For instance, one may say, “The weather will not be hotter tomorrow; by the same token, the weather will also not be cooler tomorrow.” Both of these statements are true based on the fact that the weather is not going to change tomorrow. Note that the fact that the weather is not going to change is never stated outright. The expression by the same token is old; it has been in use since the 1400s. The definition of the word token, in this phrase, is a mark, a symbol, or evidence. The phrase is found in Shakespeare’s The History of Troilus and Cressida, 1601: “By the same token, you are a bawd.”


When poked, they will stand motionless on their hind legs, likely a defensive stance. By the same token, some members of this family will secrete a thin line of webbing from which they will drop down and hang if they sense a nearby predator. (Arizona Daily Sun)

By the same token, they are going to defend the position of the daughter, who, although not biologically, has been part of the family since she was born,” continued the statement, which added that discretion will be key. (El Pais English)

“We’re not into a lot of moral victories here, we’re in to state championships, but by the same token, I couldn’t be more proud of a group for the persistence and the relentlessness they showed.” (Las Cruces Sun News)

Leave a Comment