on the bench

on the bench

1. Acting as judge in a court case. I thought we had a good chance of winning, but Steinman is on the bench—there's no way he'll rule in our favor.
2. Of a player or players in a team sport, not currently in the game, but situated on the perimeter of the playing area (often literally seated on a bench). The term can refer to players who are available to play or those who are ineligible due to injury, etc. The players on the bench might have a big impact on this game if the starters need to come out. He's been on the bench all season due to problems with his hip.
See also: bench, on

on the bench

 
1. [of a judge] directing a session of court. I have to go to court tomorrow. Who's on the bench? It doesn't matter who's on the bench. You'll get a fair hearing.
2. sitting, waiting for a chance to play in a game. (In sports, such as basketball, football, soccer, etc.) Bill is on the bench now. I hope he gets to play. John played during the first quarter, but now he's on the bench.
See also: bench, on

on the bench

1. Presiding as judge in a law court, as in Lawyers are very careful when Judge Brown is on the bench. This usage alludes to the seat occupied by a judge. [Late 1200s]
2. Waiting for a chance to participate; also, removed from participation. For example, Mary complained that all her colleagues were going to the sales conference while she was left on the bench . This usage comes from baseball and other sports, where players not deemed ready or competent to play sit on a bench watching the game. [Early 1900s]
See also: bench, on
References in classic literature ?
And he mounted on the bench to try and get a sight of her.
Two sisters, girls like herself, stopped to rest on the bench.
He took it from her hastily, caught up the one that was on the bench, and rushed away.