\ ˈbench \

Definition of bench

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a long seat for two or more persons
b : a thwart in a boat
c(1) : a seat on which the members of an athletic team await a turn or opportunity to play
(2) : the reserve players on a team broadly : a reserve force
2a : the seat where a judge sits in court
b : the place where justice is administered : court
c : the office or dignity of a judge sat on the bench for 20 years
d : the persons who sit as judges
3a : the office or dignity of an official
b : a seat for an official
c : the officials occupying a bench
4a : a long worktable also : laboratory bench chemist bench test
b : a table forming part of a machine
5 : terrace, shelf: such as
a : a former wave-cut shore of a sea or lake or floodplain of a river
b : a shelf or ridge formed in working an open excavation on more than one level
6 : a compartmented platform on which dogs or cats are kept at a show when not being judged


benched; benching; benches

Definition of bench (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to furnish with benches
2a : to seat on a bench
b(1) : to remove from or keep out of a game broadly : to remove from use or from a position
(2) : to remove from the starting lineup
3 : to exhibit (dogs or cats) to the public on a bench
4 : to lift (a weight) in a bench press bench 200 pounds

intransitive verb

: to form a bench by natural processes


biographical name
\ ˈbench \

Definition of Bench (Entry 3 of 3)

Johnny (Lee) 1947–     American baseball player

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Synonyms for bench

Synonyms: Noun

adjudicator, beak [chiefly British], court, judge, jurist, justice, magistrate

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Examples of bench in a Sentence


The lawyer asked if he could approach the bench. her recent appointment to the bench


The manager benched one of his most popular players.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The crowd knew just as well as the bench that the 18-year-old senior had been waiting for the chance to play for what seemed like his entire basketball career. Meagan Flynn, The Seattle Times, "Legally blind high school basketball player took one shot all season and sank it," 5 Feb. 2019 At first glance, all looks well: The scene shows the star's stylish home, complete with shiplap, a bench, and a ledge with letters where Joanna spells out sweet messages. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Joanna Gaines's Sons Just Played the Best Prank on Their Mom," 27 Nov. 2018 One of the photos shows the family of nine—dressed in a blue and white color scheme—smiling on an outdoor bench, but the candid version of the shot has won us over. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Royals Get Adorably Candid in New Portraits for Prince Charles' 70th Birthday," 13 Nov. 2018 Yet even the off-the-bench role that Reyes is holding down this final homestand before the All-Star break presents valuable opportunities to grow as a player. Jeff Sanders,, "Padres' Franmil Reyes savoring teachable moments," 13 July 2018 The days pass, the earth shifts, the weather cools, the houseless shuffle between one cold bench and the next. Sadia Hassan, Longreads, "Silence is a Lonely Country: A Prayer in Twelve Parts," 13 July 2018 Ochai Agbaji, who provided a big lift off the bench in the first half, fouled out for Kansas on a loose ball with 6:32 to go. Dave Skretta, The Seattle Times, "Lawson’s double-double lifts No. 9 KU past No. 24 Cyclones," 22 Jan. 2019 The most famous Spygate involved Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots videotaping the Jets’ bench to steal signals and read plays. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "On His Manager’s Secret Service: Espionage Comes to English Soccer," 15 Jan. 2019 Once at camp, the GO pops up and folds out to create a tented area with two benches and a table. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Versatile travel trailer camps four and hauls gear for $10K," 29 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Manchester United star, who has been benched in successive Premier League games too, is set to start Les Bleus' clash with Colombia on the bench if a report form L'Equipe is to be believed., "Man Utd Star Paul Pogba Reportedly Axed From France's Starting Lineup Ahead of Colombia Friendly," 23 Mar. 2018 The move doesn’t mean Bryant is being benched, or won’t regain the starting spot. Pete Iacobelli, The Seattle Times, "No. 3 Clemson tabs freshman Trevor Lawrence new starting QB," 24 Sep. 2018 This even after showcasing his skills at both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine — using a prosthetic hand to bench 225 pounds an impressive 20 times and running a 4.38 40-yard dash. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "Who is Shaquem Griffin, the UCF linebacker drafted by the Seattle Seahawks? | Miami Herald," 28 Apr. 2018 The Rangers have no intention of benching Rougned Odor and making Profar their everyday second baseman. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Profar comes up big for Rangers in final game as everyday shortstop," 17 June 2018 Orlando Arcia, who was benched Tuesday night for Brad Miller, is hitting .198 with a .230 on-base percentage and .255 slugging percentage. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Manny Machado sweepstakes are underway - and Dodgers are favorites to acquire him," 27 June 2018 Wimbush was benched early in the second quarter of the Citrus Bowl and replaced by backup Ian Book, whose heroics led Notre Dame to a 21-17 win over LSU. Laken Litman, Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame offensive identity won't change after losing core players to NFL," 27 Mar. 2018 Then he was briefly benched last season after signs of his decline, only for the team to plow ahead this season with him under center again. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Sticking With Eli Manning Has Torpedoed the Giants—Again," 21 Oct. 2018 Amid reports of a player mutiny against head coach Jorge Sampaoli, the word is that starting striker Sergio Agüero — who took aim at Sampaoli after the 3-0 loss to Croatia — will be benched. Jonathan Tannenwald,, "World Cup schedule, TV and streaming info: Argentina, Lionel Messi look to advance past Nigeria," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bench.' 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 bench


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1598, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a

History and Etymology for bench


Middle English, from Old English benc; akin to Old High German bank bench

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Statistics for bench

Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bench

The first known use of bench was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for bench



English Language Learners Definition of bench

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long and usually hard seat for two or more people
: the place where a judge sits in a court of law
: the position or rank of a judge



English Language Learners Definition of bench (Entry 2 of 2)

US, sports : to not allow (a player) to play in a game : to put (a player) on the bench


\ ˈbench \

Kids Definition of bench

1 : a long seat for two or more persons a park bench
2 : a long table for holding work and tools a carpenter's bench
3 : the position or rank of a judge



Legal Definition of bench

1 : the place where a judge sits in court asked counsel to approach the bench — compare bar sense 1a, dock, jury box, sidebar, stand
2 : the court or system of courts serving an area the federal bench
3a : the office of a judge appointed to the bench
b : the body of persons who hold positions as judges members of the bench and bar — compare bar sense 2a
c : a judge or panel of judges hearing a case unless the lawyer is responding to a question from the bench— R. H. Bork

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More from Merriam-Webster on bench

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bench

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bench

Spanish Central: Translation of bench

Nglish: Translation of bench for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bench for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bench

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