\ ˈbench How to pronounce bench (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Bench (audio) \

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

No matter how philosophical or emotional the arguments may be, all good bench racing comes down to the numbers. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "2020 Toyota Supra and Chevrolet Camaro V-6 1LE by the Numbers: A Tale of Two Sixes and an $18K Price Difference," 16 May 2019 The decision by the Texas Supreme Court, where Republicans hold every seat on the bench, doesn’t change operations at the nation’s busiest death chamber because state lawmakers banned the disclosure of drug suppliers for executions starting in 2015. Paul J. Weber, The Seattle Times, "Texas’ high court keeps execution drug supplier secret," 13 Apr. 2019 Now Garnier is using the 11 million bottles collected thus far to build garden beds, benches, signs, and trash bins for community gardens. Megan Mcintyre, Hana Hong, Marie Claire, "11 New Innovations in Sustainable Beauty from Around the Globe," 18 Apr. 2019 The hotel is coming on the heels, too, of some smart urban planning, with the firm Snøhetta doing wayfinding, new pedestrian walkways, benches, and more in Times Square. Spencer Bailey, Town & Country, "Ian Schrager on His Latest Luxury Hotel: "Why Not Times Square?"," 16 Apr. 2019 Advertising The Clippers count heavily on their talented, versatile bench, too. Janie Mccauley, The Seattle Times, "Fresh off loss at Golden State, Clippers return for playoffs," 13 Apr. 2019 Saturn keeps the score and plays by the rules, and with this stabilizing planet on the bench, the rules become a bit more flexible. Randon Rosenbohm, Allure, "What April’s Gemini Horoscope Means for You," 31 Mar. 2019 There are no rules that dictate what judges or justices must wear on the bench, nor is there even a common source for Supreme Court robes. Marley Marius, Vogue, "Happy Birthday, Ruth Bader Ginsberg! An Ode to the Supreme Court Justice and Her Iconic Accessorizing," 15 Mar. 2019 The low-maintenance yard is spacious thanks to a large lot size, while drought-resistant plants complement a custom built Obechi wood bench, poured concrete planters, and low-temperature artificial grass. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Double A-frame Eichler in Northern California asks $2.7M," 25 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Smith and Nelson each benched 225 pounds 35 times at the combine, tied for second behind Will Hernandez of UTEP (who went to the Giants with the second pick of the second round). Nat Newell, Indianapolis Star, "Get to know Colts second round pick Braden Smith, another offensive lineman," 27 Apr. 2018 Locker was benched before the calendar even turned to October. Greg Bishop,, "Why Jake Locker Walked Away From Football—and Why He Doesn’t Miss It," 18 Apr. 2018 As of early 2017, the bill has been benched and moved to the State Affairs committee for further discussion. Fernando Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "Reminder: Daylight saving time begins Sunday," 9 Mar. 2018 Crowder is being benched despite shooting 15-of-23 from the field (7-of-11 from 3-point) over his last three games. Joe Vardon,, "Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Indiana Pacers, Game 47 preview and listings," 26 Jan. 2018 The crafty speedster injured his shoulder in last month's Champions League final against Real Madrid and spent The Pharaohs' World Cup opener against Uruguay on Friday benched as a result., "Egypt FA Confirms Mohamed Salah Will Be Fit to Play Against Russia," 16 June 2018 Why don’t Sox players always hustle even after seeing teammates benched as punishment? Steve Rosenbloom,, "Do the White Sox really think Manny Machado would want to play for a team like theirs?," 22 May 2018 After struggling to throw the football last season and being benched in favor of Book during the Citrus Bowl, Wimbush has worked on his mechanics, footwork and grown more comfortable in the passing game to take the lead in the competition. Laken Litman, Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame football: QB Brandon Wimbush would rather let his game do the talking," 22 Apr. 2018 This decision also makes fiscal sense, considering that the Cardinals could save more than $4 million in unpaid per-game bonuses by benching Bradford, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Five things to know about the Seahawks’ next opponent: The Arizona Cardinals," 24 Sep. 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

21 May 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 How to pronounce bench (audio) \

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

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).


one that collects or salvages junk

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