\ 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

bar, court, forum, tribunal

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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 Skripals were found unconscious on a park bench on March 4 in Salisbury, around 7 miles from Amesbury. NBC News, "British police determine source of nerve agent that poisoned couple," 13 July 2018 The man, described only as a Caucasian male in his 40s, was found dead on a bench outside Saint John’s Hospital on Santa Monica Boulevard about 6:45 a.m., according to a statement released by the Santa Monica Police Department. James Queally,, "Police investigate suspicious death at Santa Monica hospital," 6 July 2018 Amesbury is about 10 miles from Salisbury, where Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unresponsive on a bench on March 4. Jane Onyanga-omara, USA TODAY, "British police declare major incident after man and woman exposed to unknown substance near Salisbury," 4 July 2018 Stephens, who wears a black sundress, chases after her, leaving her mother, Claudia, sitting on a bench. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, "For three families, Tulsa experiment offers chance to grasp American dream," 3 July 2018 Cynthia Jones, 57, who sat on a bench on the lawn of City Hall, was excited to see some of her favorite gospel artists and celebrate the anniversary of the organization. Brooke A. Lewis, Houston Chronicle, "Houston NAACP celebrates 100th anniversary," 1 July 2018 Pratt, 38, and Schwarzenegger, 28, were photographed laughing and sharing snacks on a park bench. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Are Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger Dating?," 19 June 2018 Hancock was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player in 2013, the first bench player ever to win the award. Scooby Axson,, "Former Louisville Players Expected To Sue NCAA Over Vacated Wins," 10 July 2018 After that, the Diamondbacks could have to make a decision among their bench players, and Owings, who has struggled badly at the plate and has minor-league options remaining, could be in jeopardy. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "Steven Souza’s return will make for crowded Diamondbacks outfield," 4 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

A month later, the Patriots lost Super Bowl LII to the underdog Eagles, largely due to an ineffective defense that was without starting cornerback Malcolm Butler, benched by Belichick. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Patriots training camp questions: Will rocky offseason carry over for AFC champions?," 13 July 2018 When one team scores, the other has to bench one of its players, creating an odd-man advantage. Mike Persak,, "Neymar Jr's Five U.S. Final to be played in Miami this weekend," 6 June 2018 Hart lost his job at City, was loaned to West Ham, then at the end of the season was benched there as well. Victor Mather, New York Times, "World Cup 2018: The Big Names Missing Out," 21 May 2018 Morris was a big reason why Simmons scored just one point in Game 2, and was benched for much of the second half. Marcus Hayes,, "Celtics' rough play against Sixers led by North Philly native Marcus Morris | Marcus Hayes," 4 May 2018 First round, No. 21 overall: OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M Grade: F Why: In two seasons as a starter Ogbuehi was benched at right tackle midway through. Paul Dehner Jr.,, "Cincinnati Bengals: Grading the team's performance in the 2015 NFL Draft.," 3 Apr. 2018 Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy let Buycks finish the game, benching Ish Smith for the final 15:50. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' Dwight Buycks makes case for roster spot next season," 16 Mar. 2018 Jalen Hurts is 26–2 as the Crimson Tide’s starter, but he was benched at halftime of the national title game against Georgia. Andy Staples,, "New Redshirt Rule Adds Intriguing Potential Twist to Alabama's QB Competition," 3 July 2018 In a five-game stretch, he was benched three times. Cincinnati Enquirer,, "Jim Riggleman says Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jesse Winker reminds him of Mark Grace," 12 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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Learn More about bench

Phrases Related to bench

the bench

Statistics for bench

Last Updated

10 Sep 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).


the setting in which something occurs

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