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

Examples of backbench in a Sentence

the Prime Minister's supporters on the backbenches
Recent Examples on the Web That this may be the only way to avoid another chaotic, pointless speaker fight is ultimately commentary on the quality of a fraction of the GOP backbench, not of the leadership. The Editors, National Review, 22 Apr. 2024 For history teaches us that almost nothing would be more damaging than an out-of-nowhere primary challenge to Biden by a backbench Democrat in Congress or a hedge-fund billionaire with dreams of grandeur. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 3 Apr. 2023 Cox, a backbench state lawmaker inspired by pandemic shutdowns to run for governor, has neither shored up his own party nor assembled the cross-party coalition of Republicans, independents and conservative Democrats that gave two terms to outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Erin Cox, Washington Post, 1 Oct. 2022 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'backbench.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 22 Jul. 2024.

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