1 of 2


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


2 of 2


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

Example Sentences

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 monarch isn’t paid out of the profits of the Crown Estate, that’s just used as the benchmark. Karla Adam, Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2023 That in turn can disrupt corporate bond issuers who use government bond yields as a benchmark, officials and economists say. Megumi Fujikawa, WSJ, 17 Jan. 2023 Trading strategies that exploit this phenomenon have consistently delivered excess returns relative to bitcoin, which the researchers used as a benchmark. Allison Morrow, CNN, 17 Jan. 2023 Using California’s maximum allowable dose level (MADL) as a benchmark, the publication said just five popular dark chocolate bars contained acceptable levels of lead and/or cadmium, while nearly two dozen did not. Rob Wile, NBC News, 7 Jan. 2023 This approach will ensure that fluctuations in the market price, using the International Energy Agency’s price as a benchmark, will be followed by fluctuations in the price cap. Alan Rappeport, New York Times, 2 Dec. 2022 Bot Sentinel is largely trained with tweets from users that Twitter has already deemed problematic, using Twitter’s own policies as a benchmark. WIRED, 1 Oct. 2022 As a benchmark, utilities typically cite bills for residential customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month. Jim Saunders, Sun Sentinel, 6 Sep. 2022 The All-Pro defensive tackle agrees to a six-year, $135 million deal, which surpasses Von Miller’s contract in Denver as the new benchmark for defenders. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2022
The scores are used to help investors decide whether to investigate a company or not, and then to benchmark investigated companies against each other. Tom Davenport, Forbes, 13 June 2022 Companies often then buy data sets listing salaries at rivals or in an industry as a whole in an attempt to benchmark pay to others. Chip Cutter, WSJ, 1 Nov. 2022 Today there is no way to hold the country’s 6,000 hospitals accountable and benchmark their performance. Karen Pennar, STAT, 27 Oct. 2022 This digital twin technology can also serve as an interactive medium for an individual to benchmark their accomplishments, set learning agendas, track their performance, create accountability and more. John Kao, Forbes, 8 June 2022 Additional tests of the Arc A770 and Arc A750 revolved around games that are tricky to benchmark but turned up decent-enough performance. Sam Machkovech And Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 5 Oct. 2022 That enables our CEOs and CFOs to benchmark against their peer group. Fortune Editors, Fortune, 14 Sep. 2022 The suit alleges that while researching other homes to benchmark against the plaintiff's home, the appraiser ignored nearby sales in majority-white areas, similar to the plaintiff's, that had higher values. CBS News, 22 Aug. 2022 Audit committees should make use of external consultants to assist the company benchmark itself against its peers, and against the standards used by ESG raters. Simone Grimes, Forbes, 16 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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 7 Feb. 2023.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?