from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A long seat, often without a back, for two or more persons.
  • n. Nautical A thwart in a boat.
  • n. Law The seat for judges in a courtroom.
  • n. Law The office or position of a judge.
  • n. Law The judge or judges composing a court.
  • n. A seat occupied by a person in an official capacity.
  • n. The office of such a person.
  • n. A strong worktable, such as one used in carpentry or in a laboratory.
  • n. A platform on which animals, especially dogs, are exhibited.
  • n. Sports The place where the players on a team sit when not participating in a game.
  • n. Sports The reserve players on a team.
  • n. A level, narrow stretch of land interrupting a declivity.
  • n. A level elevation of land along a shore or coast, especially one marking a former shoreline.
  • transitive v. To furnish with benches.
  • transitive v. To seat on a bench.
  • transitive v. To show (dogs) in a bench show.
  • transitive v. Sports To keep out of or remove from a game: benched the goalie for fighting.
  • transitive v. Sports To bench-press.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A long seat, for example, in the park.
  • n. The people who decide on the verdict; the judiciary.
  • n. The place where the judges sit.
  • n. The place where players (substitutes) and coaches sit when not playing.
  • n. The number of players on a team able to participate, expressed in terms of length.
  • n. A place where assembly or hand work is performed; a workbench.
  • n. A horizontal padded surface, usually with a weight rack, used for support during exercise.
  • n. A flat ledge in the slope of an earthwork, work of masonry, or similar.
  • n. A thin strip of relatively flat land bounded by steeper slopes above and below.
  • n. A kitchen surface on which to prepare food, a counter.
  • v. To remove a player from play.
  • v. To remove someone from a position of responsibility temporarily.
  • v. To push the victim back on the person behind them who is on their hands and knees and end up falling over.
  • v. To lift by bench pressing
  • n. The weight one is able to bench press, especially the maximum weight capable of being pressed.
  • v. Alternative spelling of bentsh.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A long seat, differing from a stool in its greater length.
  • n. A long table at which mechanics and other work.
  • n. The seat where judges sit in court.
  • n. The persons who sit as judges; the court. See King's Bench.
  • n. A collection or group of dogs exhibited to the public; -- so named because the animals are usually placed on benches or raised platforms.
  • n. A conformation like a bench; a long stretch of flat ground, or a kind of natural terrace, near a lake or river.
  • intransitive v. To sit on a seat of justice.
  • transitive v. To furnish with benches.
  • transitive v. To place on a bench or seat of honor.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To furnish with benches.
  • To bank up.
  • To seat on a bench; place on a seat of honor.
  • To place on a show-bench for exhibition, as a dog.
  • In mining: To undercut, kirve, or hole (the coal).
  • To wedge up the bottoms below the holing when this is done in the middle of the seam.
  • To sit on a seat of justice.
  • n. A long seat, usually of board or plank, or of stone, differing from a stool in its greater length.
  • n. The seat where judges sit in court; the seat of justice.
  • n. Hence The body of persons who sit as judges; the court: as, the case is to go before the full bench.
  • n. A strong table on which carpenters or other mechanics do their work; a work-bench.
  • n. The floor or ledge which supports muffles and retorts.
  • n. A platform or a series of elevated stalls or boxes on which animals are placed for exhibition, as at a dog-show.
  • n. In engineering, a ledge left on the edge of a cutting in earthwork to strengthen it.
  • n. In geology and mining:
  • n. A natural terrace, marking the outcrop of a harder seam or stratum, and thus indicating a change in the character of the rock.
  • n. In coal-mining, a division of a coal-seam separated from the remainder of the bed by a parting of shale or any other kind of rock or mineral.
  • n. A small area of nearly level or gently sloping land, rising above the adjacent low region, and forming a part of a terrace or wash, disunited from the remainder by erosion. Sometimes, though rarely, used as synonymous with terrace.
  • n. The driver's seat on a coach.
  • n. A horizontal subdivision of a bed of coal or other mineral.
  • n. A glass tray in which microscopical slides can be placed, in a vertical position, for staining or other purposes.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the reserve players on a team
  • n. a level shelf of land interrupting a declivity (with steep slopes above and below)
  • n. a long seat for more than one person
  • n. (law) the seat for judges in a courtroom
  • v. exhibit on a bench
  • n. the magistrate or judge or judges sitting in court in judicial capacity to compose the court collectively
  • v. take out of a game; of players
  • n. a strong worktable for a carpenter or mechanic
  • n. persons who administer justice


Middle English, from Old English benc.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English benċ. (Wiktionary)
From bench press by shortening. (Wiktionary)
See bentsh. (Wiktionary)


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  • "Benches (usually of two or three judges in modern times) have various ways of harassing the player, including 'closing the book,' i.e. ostentatiously shutting their notebooks..."
    —William Donaldson, Pipers: A Guide to the Players and Music of the Highland Bagpipe (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2005), 21

    July 27, 2008