on the bench


Also found in: Acronyms.

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
He took it from her hastily, caught up the one that was on the bench, and rushed away.