Definition of bench in English:



  • 1A long seat for several people, typically made of wood or stone.

    • ‘Mr Buttery wants to make more of the site, now barely more than a couple of park benches and an engraved stone.’
    • ‘I took a seat on the park bench, and Mina followed suit hesitantly.’
    • ‘Each book is ‘read and released’ into the wild by leaving it on a park bench or airline seat, or passed onto friends.’
    • ‘Sitting on one of the stone benches, she broke down and cried.’
    • ‘They finally took a seat on a stone bench located near one tiny pond within the back garden.’
    • ‘Furniture takes the form of either long, low timber benches, or blond wood chairs, equipped with kneelers.’
    • ‘Once outside, I took a seat on a stone bench near the door.’
    • ‘Tall hedges stood with stone benches in front of them.’
    • ‘The second miniature shows a couple embracing, seated on a stone bench in front of a starry sky with a disc-shaped moon.’
    • ‘I arrived at Piccadilly, and settled down on a stone bench on the outskirts of the square.’
    • ‘Use ladderback chairs, rocking chairs, benches, wicker furniture and Windsor chairs.’
    • ‘It was smaller than the other gardens on the property - a brick path led to the center of the garden where two stone benches sat under a single tree.’
    • ‘Spoons clatter, wooden benches scrape against the stone floor.’
    • ‘An elderly man paced back and forth before taking a seat on the park bench, while a light breeze sent trees dancing in the secluded darkness.’
    • ‘Cate straightened herself on the stone bench and sat up, not wanting to attract any unwanted attention.’
    • ‘And because young children climb, never put a chair, sofa, bench or even a bookcase near such a window.’
    • ‘Looms, beds, tables, chairs, stools and benches were made of wood as well.’
    • ‘The second-class had wooden seats like park benches and that was it.’
    • ‘One recent hot afternoon, I was at the East Coast Park sitting on a stone bench all by myself by the beach.’
    • ‘In a public space the heart of the garden may be a grouping of chairs, or a stone bench, a small pond or fountain, or even a piece of sculpture.’
    pew, form, long seat, seat, stall, settle
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  • 2A long, sturdy work table used by a carpenter, mechanic, scientist, or other worker.

    • ‘The equipment can range from a simple draw bench for intermittent drawing, to multiple draw blocks for continuous operation.’
    • ‘I bought a plain old mechanic's bench vise and bolted it to my garage workbench.’
    • ‘A sturdy bench vise is invaluable for all kinds of maintenance and gunsmithing chores.’
    • ‘I went down to the garage just now and he was on Rainman's tool bench.’
    • ‘This may seem obvious, but anyone who has spent much time at a gunsmith's bench knows there is a natural tendency to put off jobs that are more troublesome.’
    workbench, worktable, table, counter, trestle table, board, work surface, worktop, buffet
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  • 3The office of judge or magistrate.

    ‘his appointment to the civil bench’
    • ‘A Leyland magistrate is being forced to retire from the bench against his will because he is too old!’
    • ‘University law teachers and legal executives may be considered for the bench, he will tell the Woman Lawyer Forum in London.’
    • ‘Can no efforts be made to remove these Justices from the bench?’
    • ‘He was appointed to the federal bench by President Clinton and picked by the Chief Justice to serve on the spy court.’
    • ‘From 1982 to 1987, he took the bench as a Hamilton County Common Pleas Court judge.’
    • ‘So instead, GOP senators are claiming that there's nothing wrong with naming politicized figures to the bench.’
    • ‘His wife, Belinda, recently retired as a magistrate on the Kennet bench after 22 years and now the couple can enjoy their retirement.’
    • ‘Such a wage level is needed to maintain the independence of the judiciary and also to attract skilled jurists to the bench, they argue.’
    • ‘However, there are some people who move from the academic field to practice or the bench.’
    • ‘Mock court sessions designed to encourage potential magistrates to join the bench will be held in Bradford next month.’
    • ‘Before joining the bench, the Judge was a law professor who was well known for his erudite criticism of legalized abortion.’
    • ‘Motheral left the bench shortly after she presided over the controversial case last August involving then-State Rep.’
    1. 3.1A judge's seat in a court.
      • ‘You know I always wonder about the kind of people who sit on these judges benches and pass judgment over people.’
      • ‘The mock-up design featured access by ramps to all raised spaces, including the judge's bench, witness stand, jury box, and clerk stations.’
      • ‘He stared intently at the magistrates' bench and his defence solicitor throughout the case and spoke only to confirm his name and address.’
      • ‘Judge Pat lumbered up to his bench high above the courtroom.’
      • ‘In an unprecedented move Magistrate Nicholas got up from the bench and sat at the bar table with the witness and the accused.’
      • ‘Normally in court the magistrate sits behind an elevated bench.’
    2. 3.2Judges or magistrates collectively.
      ‘rulings from the bench’
      • ‘Scotland's Lord Justice General recently presided over the bench of five senior judges who heard and ruled on the Lockerbie appeal.’
      • ‘But on Tuesday, a bench of the high court stayed the single judge order quashing the project.’
      • ‘With the agreement of the defence and prosecution, the case was heard without a jury before a bench of three Scottish judges.’
      • ‘The high court bench upheld the trial court's verdict in October 1997.’
      • ‘Could a reasonable bench of justices, properly directing themselves, have held on the evidence that the appellant had.’
      • ‘The bench of Supreme Court headed by Justice A.H.Ahmadi ordered a C.B.I. probe into the incident.’
      • ‘The actress appealed against the verdict and a two-judge bench of the high court on Thursday stayed the film's release until another hearing next month.’
      • ‘Botha granted her leave to appeal against her conviction and she will be back in court before a full bench of three judges next year.’
      • ‘The bench apologised to defence solicitors, prosecutor and court staff that it did not start sitting at its scheduled time of 10 am.’
      • ‘Why not arrange that two of the five judges on the initial bench will be overseas judges with commercial experience?’
      • ‘A petition questioning the controversial appeal decision was upheld by a three judge bench of the Supreme Court in mid December 2002.’
      • ‘In a majority decision, the full bench of the Supreme Court quashed the previous suspended sentence.’
      • ‘The sessions will take place at Bradford Magistrates Court in front of a specialised bench of magistrates and a prosecutor, who will be experts in ASBOs.’
      • ‘An imposing judicial bench of three ‘judges’ and a departmental secretary survey the room.’
      • ‘Magistrates threw out this appeal in October, but objectors are currently considering taking the bench's decision to judicial review at the High Court.’
      • ‘He was committed in custody for sentence to Burnley Crown Court after the bench said the theft merited custody.’
      • ‘They attended Salford Magistrates Court and persuaded the bench to throw out the council's application.’
      • ‘Another bench of Magistrates may, reasonable and rationally, have reached the decision that the appeal should have been dismissed.’
      • ‘In a written decision following the two day hearing the tribunal bench unanimously backed her claim for unfair dismissal.’
      judges, magistrates, judiciary, judicature
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  • 4British A seat in Parliament for politicians of a specified party or position.

    ‘the Conservative benches’
    ‘the Opposition benches’
    • ‘A look at the Labour benches in the Dáil shows that the party has the most aged profile of any of the parties.’
    • ‘Hopefully, the shamefulness of the result will ensure the Parliamentary benches are purged for the election to follow.’
    • ‘As an MP his oratorical powers and capacity for mastering legislative detail made him the outstanding parliamentarian on the Labour bench.’
    • ‘I can say in all honesty that I will be in no way surprised if he does not sit on the green benches in the next Parliament.’
    • ‘The leader's long goodbye has left too many idle hands on the Tory benches and in the party at large.’
    • ‘Yet in a global war, Churchill's coalition government faced not just open rebellion but open contempt from senior parliamentarians on both benches.’
    • ‘He wants to win friends on the Labour back benches and among the party rank-and-file by appearing to be the champion of the poor.’
    • ‘Over there on the Opposition benches is a National Party that has no real purpose.’
    • ‘We here on the National Party benches do not actually have a great deal of problem with that.’
    • ‘The National Assembly now has five new political parties on its benches.’
    • ‘In general, it will be only through the Ombudsman that members of Parliament on the Opposition benches will be able to figure out what the commission is doing.’
    • ‘The opposition benches in parliament are now so full that JVP MPs will be compelled to physically sit on the government side.’
    • ‘His leadership was cast into doubt again this week, publicly by a former MSP and privately by many who still sit behind him on the Scottish parliament benches.’
    • ‘To achieve this, a precondition is that we should have greater diversity on our Parliamentary benches and in our Party as a whole.’
    • ‘Britain's governing Labour Party had a record number of women on its parliamentary benches.’
    • ‘What unreasonable burden does he wish to place on his parliamentary bench now?’
    • ‘Opposition to the government comes from the parties that sit on the Opposition benches in Parliament.’
    • ‘Eight years after the first all-race elections that saw the advent of democracy in South Africa, Suzman is no longer on the benches of Parliament.’
    • ‘Dr Iddon joined the Labour benches in Parliament in 1997 after serving as a councillor on Bolton council.’
    • ‘One of the odder aspects of the parliament's back benches is how little flexibility there is within the committee system.’
    1. 4.1The politicians occupying a specific seat in Parliament.
      ‘the pledge that was given by the Opposition benches yesterday’
      • ‘A special meeting of the Opposition will also be held on June 22 to discuss the line of action to be taken up by the Opposition bench during the Monsoon session.’
      • ‘Dr. Singh, who has just returned from his four-day visit to Japan, is expected to dispel some of the concerns raised by the Opposition bench and the Left party, supporting his government.’
      • ‘The Labour leadership has badly let down its back benches and the electorate by undoing its accomplished manifesto promise, now they stand for nothing.’
      • ‘I understand where he is coming from and his very firm view, supported by the Opposition Bench, that the Government cannot at this stage accept that M85 should be discarded.’
      • ‘This has come from the opposition benches in Parliament, the independence movement in Quebec and the general public as well as the arts community itself.’
  • 5A seat on which sports coaches and players sit during a game when they are not playing.

    • ‘Which is to say, Jones watched the entire game from the bench.’
    • ‘The next season, he was back on the field as the bench coach for new Cleveland manager.’
    • ‘He rarely allowed players to act on their instincts, controlling the game from the bench.’
    • ‘On some occasions, teams could not even field a full complement of substitutes on their bench.’
    • ‘With Parke out of action Scott Jackson is likely to return to the bench for Saturday's game.’
    • ‘Right now, he is the first or second player off the bench.’
    • ‘When a timeout is called, players stroll to the bench and coaches hustle to huddle.’
    • ‘Both players have watched the last two games from the bench, sidelined with muscle injuries.’
    • ‘A clenched fist pointed at the bench brings the player a rest and the right to put himself back in the game when he is rested.’
    • ‘Wasn't the substitute's bench just packed full of World Class players?’
    • ‘Glasgow-born Haining had figured in just three previous senior outings after coming off the bench as a substitute.’
    • ‘Then it was back to the bench for big games at Tottenham and Olympiakos.’
    • ‘First-choice half back Sean Long endured a nightmare first half at the JJB and should be relegated to the bench when coach David Waite names his side today.’
    • ‘He moved to the bench as an assistant coach prior to the start of the 1998-99 campaign.’
    • ‘The players and coaches jumped off the bench and began running out to the field to join their team in celebration.’
    • ‘Don't send a stud player to the bench because he had a few bad games.’
    • ‘With all of the starting spots filled, the Mariners may try to land a hitter who can share time in the outfield and come off the bench late in games.’
    • ‘In the first 19 games, Jackson didn't make it off the bench in seven games and never played more than 18 minutes.’
    • ‘Unlike Northampton they couldn't call even better players off the bench to help out.’
    • ‘Low-end players come off the bench as substitutes for starting or injured players.’
  • 6A flat ledge in masonry or on sloping ground.

    • ‘Hogback ridges impart vertical relief to a rocky bench and commonly form tide pools.’
    • ‘From the boxes to the benches high up the slope, the focus shifts from dinner to music as the concert begins.’
    • ‘Now on a broad bench, we followed it around to the right, going through a tunnel with snow.’
    • ‘Emphasis is taken from the towering edifice and transferred to the ledges, curbs, benches and other ground-level surfaces that surround it.’
    • ‘The trail crosses onto the north side and continues downhill and east along the rocky bench above the creek.’


  • 1Exhibit (a dog) at a show.

    ‘Affenpinschers and Afghans were benched side by side’
    • ‘As he went, he noted that the dogs were benched in such a way that each breed had a section to itself.’
    • ‘About 850 dogs were benched under the canvas, many of them champions of their respective breeds.’
    • ‘All dogs entered by an owner/exhibitor or agent/handler can be benched together.’
    • ‘Open Class dogs will not be benched unless space is available.’
    • ‘In 1888, additional safeguards were added, with the requirement for a “duly qualified veterinary surgeon to be at every show,” and each dog entered had to be passed on by him before being benched, and again he had to inspect each dog before noon of each day the show was open.’
  • 2North American Withdraw (a sports player) from play; substitute.

    ‘the coach benched quarterback Randall Cunningham in favor of Jim McMahon’
    • ‘You have a certain amount of discipline points for the year - with discipline always being a matter of benching a player.’
    • ‘The team has tried switching personnel, blitzing more often and benching players.’
    • ‘Evidently they've changed the rules so teams no longer have to fake injuries to bench a player.’
    • ‘Inordinate frustration is another reason to bench the player.’
    • ‘Just as a player is benched, cut, or fined for violations, officials should be held accountable more publicly.’
    • ‘He was benched by the head coach in the third quarter, something that should have been done a couple of weeks ago.’
    • ‘He realized it could hurt the Vikings if he benched one of his best special teams players when facing one of the top return men in the league.’
    • ‘One reason benching players is so detrimental to team play is that it eventually fractures unity.’
    • ‘These four teams have benched their original starting quarterbacks, and we're just starting the second half of the season.’
    • ‘Eight teams have benched their opening game quarterback, at least briefly.’
    • ‘Players who get benched for making turnovers need to have a chance to redeem themselves.’
    • ‘Coach Evans benched him for all but two minutes in the second quarter.’
    • ‘Still, McRae has not been hesitant to bench players who fail to do the little things.’
    • ‘At one point, coach Curt Fraser benched him for a game for poor defensive play.’
    • ‘Rumor has it that your basketball coach is benching you for the next few games?’
    • ‘His one basketball problem was a struggle to defend the pick-and-roll that forced coach Tom Izzo to bench him in early February.’
    • ‘If the offending player is benched for game, you'll find that things go a lot smoother afterwards.’
    • ‘My eighth grade coach would have benched me for that much slapping, poking, and grabbing.’
    • ‘Watch your team, switch starters and bench players to see what works.’
    • ‘And the Spurs are famously one of those teams that will bench players who don't play defense.’
  • 3

    short for bench press
    • ‘He used to bench 255 pounds, but by the end of the study, he was lifting an amazing 315 pounds!’
    • ‘In 1987, I won my first gold medal by benching 375 pounds, and have won 16 consecutive golds in the event since.’
    • ‘I don't even know if he could bench 300 pounds, which is a bit surprising.’
    • ‘If you provide them both with four years of weight training, which one is mostly likely to be able to bench 250 pounds when the program is over?’
    • ‘He's got the long-hair, the ripped clothing, and he can bench 200 pounds.’
    • ‘He was benching 310 pounds like it was nobody's business.’
    • ‘If it means going from 200 to 205 for bench presses, then to 215 and 225, I'm gradually achieving the long-term goal of benching 300 pounds.’
    • ‘He's now up to about 240 pounds and benching about 170.’
    • ‘If your rate of improvement thus far were projected 15 years down the road, you would be benching 1,400 pounds.’
    • ‘He watched the boy start benching about 145 pounds, and wondered how cool he would be if he benched more than that.’


  • on the bench

    • 1Appointed as or in the capacity of a judge or magistrate.

      ‘he retired after twenty-five years on the bench’
      • ‘He was appointed a magistrate on the Westbury bench in 1980 and became chairman in 1989.’
      • ‘The female magistrate had sat on the bench at the applicant's trial for escaping lawful custody.’
      • ‘Frank worked long hours as a Judge hence his massive output of work on the bench.’
      • ‘It's not uncommon for conservative judges to become more liberal once they're on the bench.’
      • ‘That two of five judges on the bench thought otherwise should be chilling enough.’
    • 2Acting as one of the possible substitutes in a sports contest.

      • ‘He has also been silly enough to make Kumble sit on the bench in many matches.’
      • ‘Touch wood, I am now injury free, in fact I have been on the bench for the last two matches.’
      • ‘When Charlton's season kicked off at the Reebok stadium, the three were all on the bench as substitutes.’
      • ‘He is yet to play a first team match for Liverpool, although he has been on the bench on numerous occasions.’
      • ‘It is no use him sitting on the bench just watching the match against Germany.’
      • ‘Keighley have former Bees centre Tim Marlow on the bench for their Yorkshire One match at home to Selby.’
      • ‘Louw will start the game on the bench and is likely to feature as a second half substitute.’
      • ‘There must be a time when you have to call it a day, and I don't think I would like to spend the last few matches on the bench.’
      • ‘York Wasps coach Garry Atkins said today that Forsyth will start tomorrow's match on the bench.’
      • ‘With no substitute keeper on the bench, City were forced to put skipper Robert Morgan in goal.’


Old English benc, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bank and German Bank, also to bank.