Word of the Day: Benchmark

bench-mark / bĕnch-märk
1. relating to an acknowledged measure for comparing others known as a benchmark
Remember, benchmark performance — beta — can be had for virtually free; alpha is what active managers are paid to generate.
Paul McCulley, 1957 –
1. an acknowledged measure by which others are compared
Economic yardsticks and benchmarks get distorted and do not allow for meaningful analysis of the performance of the economy.
From “After the Rain” by Sam Vaknin, 1961 –
2. in surveying, a mark made on an unmovable object with a known elevation and position used as a reference point
Temporary benchmarks are created by the surveyors in the field to mark the point in the field up to which the survey is completed. 
“Terms Used in Leveling and their Uses in Surveying” “The Constructor’, https://theconstructor.org/surveying/terms-in-leveling-uses/20077/
1. to measure something against an established standard
Benchmark your performance against your best competitors. 
Brian Tracy, 1944 –
A combination of the English noun bench, from the Anglo-Saxon noun benc (long seat), and the English word mark (boundary, goal, indication, sign), from the Middle English noun merke, marke (boundary, limit) and the Anglo-Saxon noun mearc of the same meaning.
Thank you to Allen Ward for providing this etymology.