\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for bench

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of bench in a Sentence

Noun The lawyer asked if he could approach the bench. her recent appointment to the bench Verb The manager benched one of his most popular players.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Four players scored in double figures for Mentor (20-0), including Jonah Waag with 12 points, Steven Key II with 10 and Antonio DiFranco off the bench with 11. Matt Goul, cleveland, "Dominic Rini heats up Avon, which slips by Strongsville on the road: Boys basketball roundup," 25 Feb. 2021 Stephen Dorsey came off the bench to add eight points for the Tomcats. Rick Armstrong,, "Amarion Savage scores 24 points, but East Aurora can’t close out Glenbard East in first loss of shortened season," 24 Feb. 2021 Fiedler recorded her second-straight hat trick to begin the year, while Catie Corolla added two goals off the bench for the Greyhounds. Baltimore Sun Staff,, "Towson women’s lacrosse upsets No. 10 Loyola Maryland, 13-7, behind Nikki Sliwak | ROUNDUP," 24 Feb. 2021 Poeltl’s play while Aldridge was sidelined could be a factor in Popovich’s decision to bring Aldridge off the bench. Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, "LaMarcus Aldridge returns for Spurs but isn't in starting lineup," 24 Feb. 2021 Henry then drove baseline and hit floater, then A.J. Hoggard came off the bench and sliced into the lane and shoveled to Hauser for a short jumper. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State basketball pulls off much-needed upset, beats No. 4 Illinois, 81-72," 24 Feb. 2021 What will be interesting now is what happens when Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro, who both have played well off the bench, return. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Has Kendrick Nunn changed the Heat narrative?," 24 Feb. 2021 Anthony came off the bench for 24 points, 16 in the second quarter. oregonlive, "Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray too much for Portland Trail Blazers, who fall 111-106 at the Denver Nuggets: Game rewind," 24 Feb. 2021 Semi Ojeleye and Robert Williams were the first two subs off the bench, and Carsen Edwards got a rare first-quarter chance, too. Adam Himmelsbach,, "Atlanta sets 3-point record in decimating Celtics to cap winless road trip," 24 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Unfortunately for Izzo, that surprise was Indiana guard Aljami Durham running full speed at the Spartans bench, right into Izzo, who was seated. Sam Lane, USA TODAY, "Tom Izzo gets knocked out of chair, comes back to lead Michigan State to win over Indiana," 21 Feb. 2021 Curry nailed a three from the corner and looked back at the Wolves bench while the ball was still in the air. Chris Hine, Star Tribune, "Golden State eventually takes over to again turn away Timberwolves," 27 Jan. 2021 Vassell has been part of a five-man lineup of mostly bench players (including Patty Mills, Rudy Gay, Jakob Poeltl and Murray) that ranked as the NBA’s best defensive fivesome heading into Saturday’s game. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "With Derrick White back, how do the Spurs find minutes for Devin Vassell?," 1 Feb. 2021 Earlier in the season, Van Gundy threatened to bench players who kept committing needless turnovers. Christian Clark,, "The Pelicans are at a low point: What went wrong in their loss to tanking Timberwolves," 24 Jan. 2021 Hale has been the Washington Nationals bench coach from 2018-20. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers hire three coaches: George Lombard, Scott Coolbaugh, Chip Hale," 7 Nov. 2020 Then Carr hit the tying 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds remaining, bringing the Gophers bench players leaping onto the court. Dave Campbell, ajc, "Minnesota beats No. 4 Iowa 102-95 on Johnson's 3-point spree," 26 Dec. 2020 Dickerson can bench over 440 pounds and squat more than 700 pounds, according to Eberle. Mike Rodak |, al, "The stories behind the grit, smarts Landon Dickerson brings to Alabama," 17 Dec. 2020 As the Cowboys enter the final two weeks of their disappointing season, the talk has increased to trade, release or bench Elliott for backup Tony Pollard. Calvin Watkins, Dallas News, "Why Ezekiel Elliott’s status in Dallas will remain safe, no matter how loud his critics become," 24 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bench

Time Traveler for bench

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for bench

Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bench.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!