From bench + mark. Originally (attested circa 1842) a mark cut into a stone by land surveyors to secure a "bench" (from 19th century land surveying jargon, meaning a type of bracket), to mount measuring equipment. Figurative sense attested circa 1884.
benchmark (plural benchmarks)
- A standard by which something is evaluated or measured.
- A surveyor's mark made on some stationary object and shown on a map; used as a reference point.
- (computing) A computer program that is executed to assess the performance of the runtime environment.
- (transitive) To measure the performance of (an item) relative to another similar item in an impartial scientific manner.