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benchmark

or bench mark

[bench-mahrk]
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noun
  1. a standard of excellence, achievement, etc., against which similar things must be measured or judged: The new hotel is a benchmark in opulence and comfort.
  2. any standard or reference by which others can be measured or judged: The current price for crude oil may become the benchmark.
  3. Computers. an established point of reference against which computers or programs can be measured in tests comparing their performance, reliability, etc.
  4. Surveying. Usually bench mark. a marked point of known or assumed elevation from which other elevations may be established. Abbreviation: BM
adjective
  1. of, relating to, or resulting in a benchmark: benchmark test, benchmark study.
verb (used with object)
  1. to test (something) in order to develop a standard: IT benchmarked the new software.
  2. to measure (something) against a standard: executive salaries benchmarked against the industry.

Origin of benchmark

First recorded in 1835–45; bench + mark1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for benchmark

benchmark

noun
  1. a mark on a stone post or other permanent feature, at a point whose exact elevation and position is known: used as a reference point in surveyingAbbreviation: BM
    1. a criterion by which to measure something; standard; reference point
    2. (as modifier)a benchmark test
verb
  1. to measure or test against a benchmarkthe firm benchmarked its pay against that in industry
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for benchmark

n.

also bench-mark, "surveyor's point of reference," 1838, from a specialized surveyors' use of bench (n.) + mark (n.1); figurative sense is from 1884.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper