warm the bench, Sports. to serve as a substitute who rarely plays in a game: The young outfielder warmed the bench for the Yankees last season.

Origin of warm

before 900; (adj.) Middle English werm, warm, Old English wearm; cognate with German warm, Old Norse varmr; (v.) Middle English warmen, wermen, Old English werman, wirman (transitive), wearmian (intransitive), both akin to the adj.; (noun) derivative of the v.
Related formswarm·er, nounwarm·ish, adjectivewarm·ly, adverbwarm·ness, nouno·ver·warmed, adjectivepre·warm, verb (used with object)re·warm, verbun·warmed, adjectiveun·warm·ing, adjectivewell-warmed, adjective

Synonyms for warm

Antonyms for warm

1–3, 5, 8. cool. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for warm

Contemporary Examples of warm

Historical Examples of warm

  • Why, at that fellow's house he gives you that claret wine as warm as soup.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • If that man was a woman he'd be a warm neighbourhood gossip.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "Now we're getting where Christians live," said Percival, with warm appreciation.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I had a warm regard for your father, and shall be glad to help your mother if there is any occasion.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Mrs. Morgan gave Robert a reception as warm as her husband had done.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

British Dictionary definitions for warm



characterized by or having a moderate degree of heat; moderately hot
maintaining or imparting heata warm coat
having or showing ready affection, kindliness, etca warm personality
lively, vigorous, or passionatea warm debate
cordial or enthusiastic; ardentwarm support
quickly or easily arouseda warm temper
(of colours) predominantly red or yellow in tone
(of a scent, trail, etc) recently made; strong
near to finding a hidden object or discovering or guessing facts, as in children's games
informal uncomfortable or disagreeable, esp because of the proximity of danger


(sometimes foll by up) to raise or be raised in temperature; make or become warm or warmer
(when intr, often foll by to) to make or become excited, enthusiastic, etc (about)he warmed to the idea of buying a new car
(intr often foll by to) to feel affection, kindness, etc (for someone)I warmed to her mother from the start
(tr) British to give a caning toI'll warm you in a minute


informal a warm place or areacome into the warm
informal the act or an instance of warming or being warmed
See also warm over, warm up
Derived Formswarmer, nounwarmish, adjectivewarmly, adverbwarmness, noun

Word Origin for warm

Old English wearm; related to Old Frisian, Old Saxon warm, Old Norse varmr
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 warm

Old English wearm, from Proto-Germanic *warmaz (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Old High German, German warm, Old Norse varmr, Gothic warmjan "to warm"), from PIE *gwher- (cf. Sanskrit gharmah "heat;" Old Persian Garmapada-, name of the fourth month, corresponding to June/July, from garma- "heat;" Armenian jerm "warm;" Greek thermos "warm;" Latin formus "warm," fornax "oven;" Old Irish fogeir "heated;" Hittite war- "to burn"). The root also may be connected to that of Old Church Slavonic goriti "to burn," varu "heat," variti "to cook, boil;" and Lithuanian verdu "to seethe."

The distinction, based on degree of heat, between "warm" and "hot" is general in Balto-Slavic and Germanic, but in other languages one word often covers both (cf. Latin calidus, Greek thermos, French chaud, Spanish caliente). In reference to feelings, etc., attested from late 15c. Sense in guessing games first recorded 1860, from earlier hunting use in reference to scent or trail (1713). Warm-blooded in reference to mammals is recorded from 1793. Warm-hearted first recorded c.1500.


Old English wyrman "make warm" and wearmian "become warm;" from the root of warm (adj.). Phrase warm the bench is sports jargon first recorded 1907. Warm up (v.) "exercise before an activity" is attested from 1868. In reference to appliances, motors, etc., attested from 1947. Noun phrase warm-up "act or practice of warming up" is recorded from 1915. Related: Warmed; warming.

SCOTCH WARMING PAN. A wench. [Grose, "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1788]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with warm


In addition to the idioms beginning with warm

  • warm as toast
  • warm heart
  • warm the bench
  • warm the cockles of one's heart
  • warm up
  • warm welcome

also see:

  • cold hands, warm heart
  • look like death (warmed over)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.