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bench·​mark ˈbench-ˌmärk How to pronounce benchmark (audio)
: 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
: a point of reference from which measurements may be made
: a standardized problem or test that serves as a basis for evaluation or comparison (as of computer system performance)
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


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benchmarked; benchmarking; benchmarks

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

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
The airline has a target to reduce CO2 emissions 25% by 2025, compared to the 2005 benchmark. Marisa Garcia, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 That is well above the 7% of family income that the US Department of Health and Human Services set as a federal benchmark for affordability. Jeanne Sahadi, CNN, 23 Feb. 2024 The biggest benchmark is coming up on April 1, which marks the end of the wet season when snowpack typically hits its peak in the peaks. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 23 Feb. 2024 Ukraine’s business community should consider establishing a benchmark for reaching a level of business ethics for local companies. James P. Moore Jr., Fortune Europe, 22 Feb. 2024 Additionally, these tests offer a realistic assessment of readiness, providing a benchmark against which to measure progress and adjust study strategies accordingly. Bryce Welker, Miami Herald, 21 Feb. 2024 In energy trading, U.S. benchmark crude added 26 cents to $77.30 a barrel. Zimo Zhong, Quartz, 21 Feb. 2024 The government will hand out funding as those benchmarks are met. Don Clark, New York Times, 19 Feb. 2024 Serving both traditional public school institutions and cyber schools, expert translators work with educators to translate materials that enable parents to understand grade-level benchmarks, along with their children's unique needs and progress. Sacramento Bee, 13 Feb. 2024
To accurately gauge your ROI, define your key performance indicators (KPIs), benchmark your current operations against these KPIs, calculate the total costs of implementation and then assess the operational savings and revenue enhancements post-integration. Nishith Rastogi, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 In fact, Apple uses a group of its competitors, including Meta, Netflix, Visa, and Cisco, to benchmark its executives’ compensation. Dylan Sloan, Fortune, 8 Feb. 2024 This can help benchmark your results and use this data to inform future strategies with more confidence. Alison Bringé, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 The first step here is to benchmark what cheap means. David Trainer, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2023 Once a year, the BLS also benchmarks the March payrolls level to a more accurate but less timely data source called the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. Reade Pickert,, 22 Aug. 2023 Job seekers want record-high wages — and men expect $25,000 more than women do Every year, the BLS conducts a revision to the data from its monthly survey of businesses’ payrolls, then benchmarks the March employment level to those measured by the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program. Alicia Wallace, CNN, 23 Aug. 2023 Never missing an opportunity to impose price controls on anything and everything, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wants to use this legislation to benchmark the price of innovative medicines that received some federal support at the basic research stage to the prices in the other G-7 nations. Wayne Winegarden, Forbes, 17 July 2023 This year, organizers will use the event to benchmark the beginning of the 75th anniversary of Saint Joseph Parish. Jshortavon, cleveland, 17 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'benchmark.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1813, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1952, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of benchmark was in 1813

Dictionary Entries Near benchmark

Cite this Entry

“Benchmark.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


usually bench mark : a mark on a permanent object indicating elevation and serving as a reference in geological surveys
: something (as a test) that can be used as a standard to check other things (as computer programs) against

More from Merriam-Webster on benchmark

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