warm the bench

Idioms & Phrases

warm the bench

Also, ride the bench. Be a secondary or substitute participant; wait one's turn to participate. For example, I can't wait till the head of accounting retires; I've been warming the bench for years. This expression comes from such sports as baseball and football, and their standard practice of having substitute players sit on a bench in case they are needed in a game. [Slang; early 1900s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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