Why was clemency trending last week?


[bench] /bɛntʃ/
a long seat for several persons:
a bench in the park.
a seat occupied by an official, especially a judge.
such a seat as a symbol of the office and dignity of an individual judge or the judiciary.
the office or dignity of various other officials, or the officials themselves.
  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.
Informal. bench press.
Also called workbench. the strong worktable of a carpenter or other mechanic.
a platform on which animals are placed for exhibition, especially at a dog show.
a contest or exhibition of dogs; dog show.
Physical Geography. a shelflike area of rock with steep slopes above and below.
Mining. a step or working elevation in a mine.
berm (def 2).
verb (used with object)
to furnish with benches.
to seat on a bench or on the bench:
an election that benched him in the district court.
to place (a show dog or other animal) in exhibition.
to cut away the working faces of (a mine or quarry) in benches.
Sports. to remove from a game or keep from participating in a game:
to be benched because of poor hitting.
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 forms
benchless, adjective
unbench, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for benches
  • It is also experimenting with forming the pulp into sheets that could be made into structures such as park benches and fences.
  • If you want to see what the original color of the stone was at the museum, look at the benches, they didn't clean the benches.
  • They are decidedly low-energy experiments, usually conducted on lab benches the size of dining-room tables.
  • Pause for a few moments on one of its wrought-iron benches, and you think you could stay there forever.
  • People are everywhere, especially on the many benches beneath the royal palm trees.
  • There are few labels and benches to distract from the works.
  • At night, long rectangular benches illuminate birch trees and encourage informal gathering.
  • Academic buildings are positioned on the outer fringes along the water, and students sit on benches, studying.
  • Some benches in the building were made from wood harvested on university land.
  • The benches provide storage space under their hinged lids.
British Dictionary definitions for benches


a long seat for more than one person, usually lacking a back or arms
a plain stout worktable
(sometimes capital) the bench
  1. a judge or magistrate sitting in court in a judicial capacity
  2. judges or magistrates collectively
(sport) the seat on which reserve players and officials sit during a game
(geology) a flat narrow platform of land, esp one marking a former shoreline
a ledge in a mine or quarry from which work is carried out
(in a gymnasium) a low table, which may be inclined, used for various exercises
a platform on which dogs or other domestic animals are exhibited at shows
(NZ) a hollow on a hillside formed by sheep
verb (transitive)
to provide with benches
to exhibit (a dog, etc) at a show
(NZ) to form (a track) up a hill by excavating a flattened area
(US & Canadian, sport) to take or keep (a player) out of a game, often for disciplinary reasons
Word Origin
Old English benc; related to Old Norse bekkr, Old High German bank, Danish, Swedish bänk; see bank³
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
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Word Origin and History for benches



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
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Slang definitions & phrases for benches


  1. To take someone out of active play in a sporting event: coach benched him after one foul
  2. To remove someone from an activity: Don't bench the staff for that decision

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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benches in the Bible

deck of a Tyrian ship, described by Ezekiel (27:6) as overlaid with box-wood.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with benches
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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