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 The strategy includes relaxing delivery standards on first-class mail going to the farthest reaches of its network, from a one-to-three-day benchmark to a one-to-five-day goal., 9 July 2021 Only in the last few weeks have some members been seeded with free product from brands, a familiar benchmark of influencer clout. New York Times, 8 July 2021 The benchmark index snapped a 7-day winning streak of high closes a day earlier. Damian J. Troise, Star Tribune, 7 July 2021 The benchmark index fell 0.2% after having been down 0.9%. Los Angeles Times, 6 July 2021 Every sector in the benchmark index fell, with the largest declines coming from banks and technology companies. CBS News, 18 June 2021 The benchmark index dropped 7.71 points, or 0.2%, to 4219.55, off 0.3% from its May 7 record. Anna Hirtenstein, WSJ, 9 June 2021 Overall, one out of the 19 Safest Dividend Yield stocks outperformed its benchmark (S&P 500) from May 20, 2021, through June 21, 2021. David Trainer, Forbes, 29 June 2021 But economists note that new ones are emerging to take their place: While employment in transportation and warehousing remains 100,000 below its February 2020 benchmark as of May, this sector has been more or less steadily adding jobs. NBC News, 28 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Manufacturers Survey to benchmark their performance and internally make the case for investments in digital sales strategies. Forrester, Forbes, 24 June 2021 News that the Federal Reserve may raise it benchmark short-term rate twice by late 2023 keeps buyers motivated to lock into rock-bottom mortgage interest rates. oregonlive, 20 June 2021 To learn how to measure and benchmark journeys to drive emotional engagement, please register for Forrester’s CX North America here. Forrester, Forbes, 4 June 2021 Vega, 64, wanted to create an earn and learn approach to supervision, where each benchmark a person earns would knock time off of their probation or parole. Claudia Lauer, Star Tribune, 18 May 2021 Vega, 64, wanted to create an earn and learn approach to supervision, where each benchmark a person earns would knock time off of his or her probation or parole. Fox News, 19 May 2021 In response to the problem, EmTrain developed a global dataset to help clients benchmark workplace culture shifts. Denise Brodey, Forbes, 5 May 2021 Hetzer says that in the absence of a modern seat strength standard from the American government, most manufactures now benchmark the slightly more stringent European standard, ECE-R17. Wes Siler, Outside Online, 12 May 2021 Every company needs to benchmark itself against best-in-class because that’s what your customers expect of you. Maribel Lopez, Forbes, 10 May 2021

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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Learn More About benchmark

Time Traveler for benchmark

Time Traveler

The first known use of benchmark was in 1813

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Statistics for benchmark

Last Updated

14 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Benchmark.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for benchmark



English Language Learners Definition of benchmark

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

More from Merriam-Webster on benchmark

Nglish: Translation of benchmark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of benchmark for Arabic Speakers


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