Bench (metonymy)

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Bench can be used as a figure of speech for a group of people associated with sitting on particular benches. The words chair, seat and desk can be used in similar ways.

  • In legal contexts, the bench is the location where judges sit while in court, often specified after the type of court, e.g. county bench (in both UK and US), or one of several bodies of magistrates (elsewhere known by other terms, e.g. a chamber, division or senate) assigned to certain types of litigation, e.g. Kings Bench Division
  • The location where members of Parliament sit while in session. More specific types of benches are also metonymic:
    • The front bench comprises senior Government ministers and opposition spokespeople, while junior Members sit on the back benches.
    • Members from the political party or parties which make up the Government sit on the government benches, to the Speaker's right.
    • The government benches occupied by ministers are called the ministerial or treasury benches. These are faced by the opposition benches.
    • Minority parties and independents, who sit on the side, not on the government or opposition benches, are referred to as crossbenchers.
  • The location where athletes sit when not in a game.

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