bench·​mark | \ ˈbench-ˌmärk How to pronounce benchmark (audio) \

Definition of benchmark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : something that serves as a standard by which others may be measured or judged a stock whose performance is a benchmark against which other stocks can be measured
b : a point of reference from which measurements may be made
c : a standardized problem or test that serves as a basis for evaluation or comparison (as of computer system performance)
2 usually bench mark : a mark on a permanent object (such as a concrete post set into the ground) indicating elevation and serving as a reference in topographic surveys and tidal observations


benchmarked; benchmarking; benchmarks

Definition of benchmark (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

business : to study (something, such as a competitor's product or business practices) in order to improve the performance of one's own company

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Examples of benchmark in a Sentence

Noun a stock whose performance is a benchmark against which other stocks can be measured this prize-winning biography will be the benchmark against which all others will be judged in future years
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Brent crude, the international price benchmark, shed 7 cents to $43.22 per barrel in London. Jessica Menton, USA TODAY, "Stocks rise as investors bet on a recovery," 10 July 2020 In exchange, CoffeeTech agreed to maintain at least 91 employees at the facility on a payroll benchmark just above $5.8 million, according to Josh Schneuker, executive director for the Seguin Economic Development Corporation. Diego Mendoza-moyers,, "Instant coffee manufacturer opening plant in Seguin," 9 July 2020 Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.2% to 22,187.27. Yuri Kageyama, Anchorage Daily News, "Asian shares up after Wall St. closes best quarter since 1998," 1 July 2020 Shell predicted prices for Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, would be at $50 dollars a barrel in 2022, having earlier predicted a price of $60 a barrel. Washington Post, "Shell takes $22 billion hit on lower oil, gas prices," 30 June 2020 Brent, the world oil benchmark, lost 1.7% to trade at $40.23 per barrel. Laura He, CNN, "Asian markets fall sharply as US coronavirus cases trigger concerns about a global recovery," 29 June 2020 As Chesapeake was expanding at breakneck speed, natural gas prices were near $20 per million British thermal units, the benchmark for natural gas trading. CBS News, "Chesapeake Energy, Oklahoma "fracking" pioneer, files for bankruptcy," 29 June 2020 But rather than follow the World Health Organization’s benchmark, which was decided by an international panel of top experts, the CDC and the White House said that states can start reopening after falling below 20 percent test positivity. Nsikan Akpan, National Geographic, "Here's how to stop the virus from winning," 26 June 2020 Brent crude, the international benchmark, is trading at $42.76 as of this writing, while West Texas Intermediate is at $40.29. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Pandemic threatens effort to save 700 homes in Norfolk from increased flooding," 19 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Prizes also provide a way for countries to benchmark themselves against their competitors. Marja Makarow, STAT, "Scientists as heroes: Let’s keep that image in the public eye," 18 June 2020 Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225, after surging Monday, edged 0.1% lower Tuesday. Chronicle Staff,, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: April 27-28," 29 Apr. 2020 Check out our primer on fio to learn how to install it on your system, and even more about the right way to benchmark storage. Valentina Palladino And Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: The best portable SSDs you can buy right now," 20 Feb. 2020 Japan ranked 110th in the latest World Economic Forum ranking on gender equality, which benchmarks 149 nations on the treatment of women, such as educational attainment and health hazards. Washington Post, "In #MeToo era, Japanese woman slams #KuToo heels dress codes," 5 June 2019 The price of Brent crude, which Nigeria’s oil is benchmarked against, has slumped by over 50% since opening on Jan. 1 at $66 per barrel. Quartz Africa, "Nigeria’s immediate future looks bleak without oil revenue—it doesn’t have to be that way," 18 May 2020 So far in 2020, Ripman has eked out a 1.4% return, which is far better than the 15% slump of the U.S. benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 Index as of March 9. Jonas Cho Walsgard,, "Top ESG Manager Is a Philosophy Graduate With Outsized Returns," 8 May 2020 Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 surged 2.1%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 2.4%. Jessica Menton, USA TODAY, "Stocks set to open lower as jobless claims top 30 million in six weeks," 30 Apr. 2020 Those third parties can also bring a bit of a benchmarking perspective on things. Mengqi Sun, WSJ, "Surge in Sanctions Lifts Compliance Services," 10 Mar. 2020

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


1813, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1952, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for benchmark

Time Traveler

The first known use of benchmark was in 1813

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Statistics for benchmark

Last Updated

13 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Benchmark.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce benchmark (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of benchmark

: something that can be used as a way to judge the quality or level of other, similar things

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