1. A standard by which something can be measured or judged: "Inflation ... is a great distorter of seemingly fixed economic ideas and benchmarks" (Benjamin M. Friedman).
2. often bench mark A surveyor's mark made on a stationary object of previously determined position and elevation and used as a reference point, as in geologic surveys or tidal observations.
tr.v. bench·marked, bench·mark·ing, bench·marks
To measure (a rival's product) according to specified standards in order to compare it with and improve one's own product.
[From the use of the surveyor's mark as a place to insert an angle iron that serves as a bench, or level surface, for the support for a leveling rod.]
(click for a larger image)bench mark
US Geological Survey
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
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