bench·​warm·​er ˈbench-ˌwȯr-mər How to pronounce benchwarmer (audio)
: a reserve player on an athletic team

Examples of benchwarmer in a Sentence

I played a little, but mostly I was a benchwarmer.
Recent Examples on the Web The 44th president had spent most of his high school hoops career as a benchwarmer but nevertheless played a pickup game with NBA’s biggest stars for his 50th birthday, including Magic Johnson, LeBron James and Chris Paul. Kara Voght, Washington Post, 26 May 2023 Like an out-of-shape benchwarmer, our intermittent national bicker over the appropriate reasons to award hardware to young athletes has wheezed its way back onto the playing field. Jason Gay,, 24 Apr. 2023 Frustrating, no doubt, for someone who’d rather be a starter than a benchwarmer. Dallas News, 16 Dec. 2022 Meet Josiah Johnson, the former UCLA benchwarmer who became an NBA meme king. Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2022 Brooks was a freshman benchwarmer when the Wildcats steamrolled his Wolverines to win the 2018 national championship in this building, and that might as well have been a lifetime ago. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 23 Mar. 2022 The league’s action places the spotlight on vaccine holdouts among the players, and could create a quandary for coaches: A second-rank player or benchwarmer who refuses the shot can be cut for chump change, but starters may be a different story. Los Angeles Times, 17 Aug. 2021 Preston started a single basketball game in high school after mostly being a benchwarmer. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, 21 Mar. 2021 If a single player tests positive, that player — whether an All-Star or a benchwarmer — would be isolated and quarantined. Jeff McDonald,, 26 June 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'benchwarmer.' 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

1892, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of benchwarmer was in 1892

Dictionary Entries Near benchwarmer

Cite this Entry

“Benchwarmer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


bench·​warm·​er ˈbench-ˌwȯr-mər How to pronounce benchwarmer (audio)
: a reserve player on a sports team
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