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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
When the policymakers meet next week, they are poised to leave their benchmark rate unchanged but will update their economic projections, and Chair Jerome Powell will hold a news conference. Rachel Ventresca, Fortune, 7 June 2024 The poll surveyed 1,624 adults — including 775 Californians and 313 LGBTQ+ people — and was weighted to match benchmarks for age, gender, census division, race and ethnicity, and education. Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times, 6 June 2024
Because many American funds benchmark their investments to those same indexes, billions of U.S. dollars automatically flow to Chinese companies, including those that Washington has sanctioned or subjected to export controls. Matt Pottinger, Foreign Affairs, 23 Aug. 2021 The bank has engaged an external recruitment firm to benchmark them against external candidates for the job, some of the people said, asking not to be identified discussing an internal process. Ambereen Choudhury, Fortune Europe, 16 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for benchmark 

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 25 Jun. 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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