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

Keep scrolling for more

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 planned dilution of Siemens’s holding could pave the way for Healthineers to enter into Germany’s benchmark DAX Index. Oliver Sachgau, Fortune, "In the biggest health care deal of the year, Siemens arm buys cancer treatment specialists for $16.4 billion," 3 Aug. 2020 That benchmark is double the figure that lands a county on the state’s monitoring list, forcing it to close various businesses. Dustin Gardiner,, "California leaving elementary-school reopenings largely up to counties," 3 Aug. 2020 The new outbreak has rattled investors, with Vietnam’s benchmark VN Index losing as much as 5.1% this week. Xuan Quynh Nguyen,, "Vietnam Sees First Coronavirus Death After Sudden Burst of Cases," 31 July 2020 The proposal also briefly rattled markets last month, sending the city's benchmark Hang Seng Index (HSI) to its worst day since 2015. Sherisse Pham, CNN, "HSBC, Standard Chartered publicly support China's national security law for Hong Kong," 4 June 2020 When the county reaches that benchmark, which is unlikely to be any time soon, the board will re-evaluate whether students can get back in the classroom. Anna Bauman,, "Fremont schools to begin year with distance learning," 11 July 2020 That's helped push Brent crude futures, the global benchmark for oil prices, back above $40 per barrel. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Why it pays to be a chain during a pandemic," 10 July 2020 In June, Harley-Davidson was removed from the Dow Jones S&P 500 list, a key benchmark for U.S. stocks. Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Harley-Davidson eliminating 700 jobs, Chief Financial Officer John Olin has left the company," 9 July 2020 In a one-on-one interview with, Hotez discusses the gravity of this benchmark. Alison Medley, Houston Chronicle, "Dr. Hotez: U.S. may soon reach 100K daily COVID-19 cases with 'no federal road map'," 8 July 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.

See More

First Known Use of benchmark


1813, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1952, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about benchmark

Time Traveler for benchmark

Time Traveler

The first known use of benchmark was in 1813

See more words from the same year

Statistics for benchmark

Last Updated

6 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Benchmark.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for benchmark


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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on benchmark

What made you want to look up benchmark? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!