\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

Parker, 36, played in 55 games for the Spurs last season, mostly playing off the bench for the first time in his career. Rohan Nadkarni,, "Grades: Spurs Legend Tony Parker Leaving San Antonio for Charlotte," 6 July 2018 At times when some coaches would banish a temperamental player to the bench for a spell, Kerr is more likely to offer a few choice words and send Green back into the fray. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "A dynasty secured," 13 June 2018 By then, Mize had been settled on the Auburn bench for some time. Edgar Thompson,, "UF downs Auburn 8-2 as Brady Singer outduels Casey Mize," 9 June 2018 When Kevin and Brakel met a short while ago, his former coach brought up the idea of his former star leading a team of his own from the bench. Peter Dawson, star-telegram, "First family of Fort Worth basketball still shining after careers at TCU, Kansas," 12 July 2018 Roberts has vocally defended lethal injection from the bench and declined to join Kennedy’s anti-solitary confinement concurrence. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "America under Brett Kavanaugh," 11 July 2018 As the teen struggles with his attacker, a woman walks up and steals his backpack from the bench. Alex Riggins,, "Police seek help to ID suspects in violent robbery on Barrio Logan trolley platform," 11 July 2018 Rather than allowing agencies to decide the meaning of disputed regulatory laws, Shapiro said, Kavanaugh, like the late Justice Antonin Scalia, has been willing to make that decision himself from the bench. Bob Egelko,, "Trump’s Supreme Court nominee: Rulings favor more power to the president," 11 July 2018 In June, 81-year-old Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the bench. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "These States Will Likely Ban Abortion if the Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Jackson benched Kizer at halftime of the fifth game against the Jets. Doug Lesmerises,, "The DeShone Kizer answer for why Tyrod Taylor should start for the Browns: Doug Lesmerises," 10 May 2018 Three weeks into the 2016 season, USC coach Clay Helton benched junior Max Browne and turned the job over to Darnold, then a redshirt freshman. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Could Sam Darnold be USC's best NFL quarterback? Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart optimistic," 23 Apr. 2018 Leonard Hamilton benched two of his leading scorers for the first half, and the Florida State men’s basketball team found itself in peculiar position against the worst team in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Safid Deen,, "P.J. Savoy, Phil Cofer lead Florida State past Pittsburgh," 19 Feb. 2018 Jim Zorn, who would soon be benched, completed just 4 of 16 passes for 13 yards, with Seattle’s 2 yards of net passing still the second-fewest in team history. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Top five moments from Chuck Knox’s Seahawks tenure," 13 May 2018 In addition, defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (first-round) has failed to win a starting job, and cornerback Brandon Williams (third round) and center/guard Evan Boehm (fourth) were benched after opening their rookie seasons as starters. Kent Somers, azcentral, "Report: Arizona Cardinals to sign legally deaf fullback Derrick Coleman," 9 May 2018 The two brothers get into a heated argument ending with Keith benching his brother from co-captain duties. Tyler Mccarthy, Fox News, "'Deadliest Catch' Season 14, Episode 4 recap: the captains see the high cost of injury and illness," 1 May 2018 Football background: Allen started as a freshman for A&M, but was benched shortly after throwing three pick-6s in a loss to Alabama. Joseph Person, charlotteobserver, "Derek Anderson is out, but who's in as Cam Newton's backup? A look at the candidates," 30 May 2018 Last season, Tom Savage was promoted to start for the first time but was benched for Watson after one game. John Mcclain, Houston Chronicle, "Texans not searching for quarterback in free agency, thanks to Deshaun Watson," 13 Mar. 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

5 Nov 2018

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 bench law : 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)

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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Comments on bench

What made you want to look up bench? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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