back·​bench ˈbak-ˈbench How to pronounce backbench (audio)
often attributive
: a bench in a British legislature (such as the House of Commons) occupied by rank-and-file members compare front bench
backbencher noun

Example Sentences

the Prime Minister's supporters on the backbenches
Recent Examples on the Web At the heart of the machinations is Graham Brady, the affable chairman of a powerful committee of Conservative backbench members of Parliament, who would preside over the election of a new party leader if there is one. Stephen Castle, New York Times, 19 Oct. 2022 Today, the Party is an utter mess, a collapsed heap, with warring factions within its factions, and many of its backbench M.P.s in despair. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 20 Oct. 2022 In his response to Sunak, Zahawi pledged to support the prime minister as a backbench lawmaker and made no reference to the ethics inquiry., 29 Jan. 2023 But it was revived on Capitol Hill in 2015 by a backbench congressman with a bone to pick with GOP leaders. Rachel Scott, ABC News, 5 Jan. 2023 Those close to her describe only one option as inconceivable: a demotion to the backbench. Shane Goldmacher, New York Times, 13 Aug. 2022 His handpicked successor lost a primary this year to a backbench freshman state delegate. Erin Cox, Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2022 By March 2022, half of conservative backbench Members of Parliament had joined the Conservative Environment Network, which embraces the country's pledge of net zero emissions by 2050. Joseph Romm, CNN, 16 Sep. 2022 Could attacking backbench members of the House GOP backfire? Erin B. Logan, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backbench.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1799, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of backbench was in 1799

Dictionary Entries Near backbench

Cite this Entry

“Backbench.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Mar. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on backbench

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