Etymology
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benchmark (n.)

also bench-mark, "surveyor's point of reference," 1838, from a specialized surveyors' use of bench (n.) + mark (n.1); figurative sense is from 1884. The literal use is in reference to an angle-iron stuck in the ground as a support ("bench") for the leveling-staff.

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Definitions of benchmark

benchmark (n.)
a standard by which something can be measured or judged;
his painting sets the benchmark of quality
benchmark (n.)
a surveyor's mark on a permanent object of predetermined position and elevation used as a reference point;
Synonyms: bench mark
From wordnet.princeton.edu