noun, often attributive
back·​bench | \ ˈbak-ˈbench How to pronounce backbench (audio) \

Definition of backbench

: a bench in a British legislature (such as the House of Commons) occupied by rank-and-file members — compare front bench

Other Words from backbench

backbencher \ ˈbak-​ˈben-​chər How to pronounce backbench (audio) \ noun

Examples of backbench in a Sentence

the Prime Minister's supporters on the backbenches
Recent Examples on the Web The effort is being led by Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, a backbench conservative. New York Times, 13 Dec. 2020 The prime minister is under pressure, especially after a big backbench Tory revolt on December 1st against his new covid-19 tier system. The Economist, 5 Dec. 2020 The package balanced his need to prevent another upsurge in the virus with a desire to avoid antagonizing 70 of his Conservative backbench lawmakers who have threatened to rebel over lockdown measures. Mark Landler, New York Times, 23 Nov. 2020 In early March, backbench MPs from the ruling Conservative Party staged a rebellion over Huawei, against their own government. Matthew Henderson, National Review, 1 May 2020 Mr Johnson, who began 2019 as a backbench member of a party that was on the ropes, starts 2020 as the most powerful prime minister since Tony Blair. The Economist, 21 Dec. 2019 The last 10 years have been generally brutal for the Democratic Party’s backbench. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 10 Mar. 2020 The governing Liberal-National coalition, meanwhile, faces regular backbench calls to publicly fund new coal generation and export projects. David Fickling | Bloomberg, Washington Post, 19 May 2019 The booklet was an attempt by Mr McDonnell, then on the backbenches, to scupper the coronation of Gordon Brown as leader of the Labour Party and prime minister in 2007. The Economist, 30 Oct. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of backbench

1799, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of backbench was in 1799

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Cite this Entry

“Backbench.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of backbench

: a seat in the British Parliament that is held by an ordinary member

More from Merriam-Webster on backbench

Nglish: Translation of backbench for Spanish Speakers


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