See more synonyms for bench on
  1. a long seat for several persons: a bench in the park.
  2. a seat occupied by an official, especially a judge.
  3. such a seat as a symbol of the office and dignity of an individual judge or the judiciary.
  4. the office or dignity of various other officials, or the officials themselves.
  5. Sports.
    1. the seat on which the players of a team sit during a game while not playing.
    2. thequality and number of the players of a team who are usually used as substitutes: A weak bench hurt their chances for the championship.
  6. Informal. bench press.
  7. Also called workbench. the strong worktable of a carpenter or other mechanic.
  8. a platform on which animals are placed for exhibition, especially at a dog show.
  9. a contest or exhibition of dogs; dog show.
  10. Physical Geography. a shelflike area of rock with steep slopes above and below.
  11. Mining. a step or working elevation in a mine.
  12. berm(def 2).
verb (used with object)
  1. to furnish with benches.
  2. to seat on a bench or on the bench: an election that benched him in the district court.
  3. to place (a show dog or other animal) in exhibition.
  4. to cut away the working faces of (a mine or quarry) in benches.
  5. Sports. to remove from a game or keep from participating in a game: to be benched because of poor hitting.
  1. on the bench,
    1. serving as a judge in a court of law; presiding.
    2. Sports.(of a player) not participating in play, either for part or all of a game.

Origin of bench

before 1000; Middle English, Old English benc; cognate with Old Frisian benk, Old Saxon, Dutch, Old High German bank, Old Norse bekkr < Germanic *bank-i-; see bank1
Related formsbench·less, adjectiveun·bench, verb (used with object)


  1. Johnny,born 1947, U.S. baseball player. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bench

Contemporary Examples of bench

Historical Examples of bench

  • Viviette seated herself on a bench beneath the apple blossoms.


    William J. Locke

  • When she found him on his bench, however, she passed him by.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Rico went into the room, seated himself on a bench, and did not stir.

    Rico and Wiseli

    Johanna Spyri

  • At last he went towards the bench behind the stove, and put them down on it.

    Rico and Wiseli

    Johanna Spyri

  • The club then adjourned to the outside, all except those who sat on the bench.

British Dictionary definitions for bench


  1. a long seat for more than one person, usually lacking a back or arms
  2. a plain stout worktable
  3. the bench (sometimes capital)
    1. a judge or magistrate sitting in court in a judicial capacity
    2. judges or magistrates collectively
  4. sport the seat on which reserve players and officials sit during a game
  5. geology a flat narrow platform of land, esp one marking a former shoreline
  6. a ledge in a mine or quarry from which work is carried out
  7. (in a gymnasium) a low table, which may be inclined, used for various exercises
  8. a platform on which dogs or other domestic animals are exhibited at shows
  9. NZ a hollow on a hillside formed by sheep
verb (tr)
  1. to provide with benches
  2. to exhibit (a dog, etc) at a show
  3. NZ to form (a track) up a hill by excavating a flattened area
  4. US and Canadian sport to take or keep (a player) out of a game, often for disciplinary reasons

Word Origin for bench

Old English benc; related to Old Norse bekkr, Old High German bank, Danish, Swedish bänk; see bank ³
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 bench

Old English benc "long seat," from Proto-Germanic *bankiz "bank of earth," perhaps here "man-made earthwork," later "bench, table" (cf. Old Frisian bank "bench," Old Norse bekkr, Danish bænk, Middle Dutch banc, Old High German banch), from PIE root *bheg- "to break." Used for "office of a judge" since late 13c. Sporting sense "reserve of players" (in baseball, North American football, etc.) is by 1909, from literal sense of place where players sit when not in action (by 1889).


"to take out of the game," 1902, from bench (n.) in the sporting sense. Related: Benched; benching. Old English also had a verb form, but it meant "to make benches."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with bench


see on the bench; warm the bench.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.