token gesture

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token gesture

an action or a decision that is so small or inconsequential as to be only symbolic. Offering to pay for my dinner was only a token gesture. That does little to make up for my inconvenience.
See also: token
References in classic literature ?
The tender father, to whom love restored strength, made a last effort, and climbed the mountain after the young man, who attracted him by gesture and by smile.
He went up to him quickly, received the comte in his arms, and as they were not yet sufficiently distant from the house for the servants, who had remained at the door to watch their master's departure, not to perceive the disorder in the usually regular proceeding of the comte, the valet called his comrades by gestures and voice, and all hastened to his assistance.
He seemed to express himself with difficulty, as though words were not the medium with which his mind worked; and you had to guess the intentions of his soul by hackneyed phrases, slang, and vague, unfinished gestures.
At a single gesture from him everyone went out on tiptoe, leaving the great man to himself and his emotion.
Quasimodo then constituted himself the rearguard, and followed the archdeacon, walking backwards, squat, surly, monstrous, bristling, gathering up his limbs, licking his boar's tusks, growling like a wild beast, and imparting to the crowd immense vibrations, with a look or a gesture.
cried all the boys, but with a magnificent gesture Peter invited his opponent to pick up his sword.
As her mother still kept beckoning to her, and arraying her face in a holiday suit of unaccustomed smiles, the child stamped her foot with a yet more imperious look and gesture.
The aged rakishness of his appearance was set off by a youthful costume; he had disreputable grey hair and a disreputable sore, red nose; but the coat and the gesture, the outworks of the man, were still designed for show.
As he attempted to rise, she made a gesture of remonstrance.
In order to complete his victory, he was in the act of recommencing the enumeration of the rewards, when Magua made an expressive gesture and said:
All times and peoples gaze divers-coloured out of your veils; all customs and beliefs speak divers-coloured out of your gestures.
With large gestures and in the emphatic tone which made what he said so striking, Athelny described to Philip the Spanish cathedrals with their vast dark spaces, the massive gold of the altar-pieces, and the sumptuous iron-work, gilt and faded, the air laden with incense, the silence: Philip almost saw the Canons in their short surplices of lawn, the acolytes in red, passing from the sacristy to the choir; he almost heard the monotonous chanting of vespers.
The grief and consternation of Kory-Kory, in particular, was unbounded; he threw himself into a perfect paroxysm of gestures which were intended to convey to us not only his abhorrence of Nukuheva and its uncivilized inhabitants, but also his astonishment that after becoming acquainted with the enlightened Typees, we should evince the least desire to withdraw, even for a time, from their agreeable society.
Tom and Ned found it difficult to comprehend all the rapid Spanish spoken by their host, but they managed to understand some, and his eloquent gestures made up the rest.
Madame coquetted with him in the most captivating and naive manner, with eyes, gestures, and a profusion of compliments, till the Colonel's old head felt thirty years younger on his padded shoulders.