\ 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

Morton, a junior-college transfer, has appeared in all three games this season off the bench. Creg Stephenson |, al, "Steve Campbell addresses South Alabama QB situation, injuries & new holder heading into UAB week," 16 Sep. 2019 Liz Cambage and Wilson had 21 and 20 for Las Vegas with Dearica Hamby and Kelsey Plum combining for 22 off the bench. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "Las Vegas holds off Phoenix Mercury in regular season finale," 8 Sep. 2019 The 6-7 Cain has elite athleticism and carved out a role off the bench as a freshman in the 2017-18 season. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski gives some takeaways from team's trip to Barcelona and Paris," 27 Aug. 2019 Police located the very intoxicated individual who had fallen off a bench. oregonlive, "Husband rocked too hard at Iron Maiden concert: Forest Grove Police log," 17 Sep. 2019 In Namath’s senior season, Alabama went undefeated in the regular season, but a knee injury caused the QB to miss two games and come off the bench in three other contests. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Freddie Kitchens assesses his place among Alabama QBs," 16 Sep. 2019 But if history is any guide, don't expect a verdict that will take him off the bench. Jason Silverstein, CBS News, "Could Brett Kavanaugh be impeached? Here's what the Constitution says," 16 Sep. 2019 Beckham vividly remembers Mayfield storming in off the bench for Tyrod Taylor against the Jets last season and snapping the Browns’ 19-game winless streak the NFL Network Thursday night game. Mary Kay Cabot,, "Baker Mayfield will try to rebound against provoked Jets’ coordinator Gregg Williams," 16 Sep. 2019 Mike Daniels had two pressures in the opener that led to Devon Kennard sacks, Robinson has seven tackles through two games, and undrafted rookie Kevin Strong has been a pleasant surprise off the bench. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Inside Detroit Lions football: Find out what is wrong with the defensive line," 15 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Brown's nine-year tenure with the Steelers ended badly, with the team benching him in the 2018 season's final game in part because of a dispute with his quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. Jason Hanna, CNN, "Here's how Antonio Brown's tumultuous summer has gone," 11 Sep. 2019 Parents said Stranahan High had no swimming pool for four years and had to temporarily bench its swim team. Brittany Wallman,, "Public schools get failing grades in new survey by Fort Lauderdale residents," 8 June 2019 The hint of an impending change surfaced Monday and a day later, Shurmur benched the man who has been the face of the organization for the past 15-plus years. NBC News, "New York Giants bench Eli Manning, name Daniel Jones starting quarterback," 17 Sep. 2019 The hint of an impending change surfaced Monday and a day later, Shurmur benched the man who has been the face of the organization for the past 15-plus years. Tom Canavan,, "Eli Manning benched, Daniel Jones named Giants’ starting QB," 17 Sep. 2019 Adams was benched the final five plays during Monday's 23–3 loss to the Browns. Charlotte Carroll,, "Jets Safety Jamal Adams Calls Social Media Speculation 'Outside Noise'," 17 Sep. 2019 Yet when the Los Angeles Dodgers played an elimination game in the World Series last October, Bellinger was benched. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "Cody Bellinger Spins Disappointment Into an M.V.P. Candidacy," 13 Sep. 2019 Habitually late to meetings, constantly posting to social media, publicly feuding with teammates, complaining about touches, missing walkthroughs, getting benched for a crucial late-season game . . ., "If the Steelers couldn’t find a way to make it work with Brown, that has to give the Patriots pause.," 11 Sep. 2019 With Shirreffs banged up late in the 2016 season, Bob Diaco benched the veteran for freshman Donovan Williams. Alex Putterman,, "Mike Beaudry is UConn’s starting quarterback. But can he keep the job?," 29 Aug. 2019

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

8 Oct 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).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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