While I was reading about why the 'nosebleed' seats are called such a preposterous name at the ballpark, my curiosity was piqued in reference to another ballpark term that has troubled me over the years. The bench-like cheap seats have always been referred to as "bleachers". I have wondered why my whole life and have asked no less than 3 wise men / gurus, but to no avail. Won't you all please resolve this issue for me and my linguistically starved children?

2 Answers 2


The bleachers were so named because the boards were bleached by the sun.

The "bench for spectators at a sports field" sense (usually bleachers) is attested since 1889, American English; so named because the boards were bleached by the sun.

  • 3
    We don't seem to use the term over here in the UK ... Feb 11, 2014 at 20:31
  • 12
    @EdwinAshworth They have sun in the UK?
    – choster
    Feb 11, 2014 at 20:35
  • Look. My wife and I did your 'Grand Circle' tour in 2012, and it rained! It's not just a British thing. (OK, I admit it only rained for 30 seconds out of 14 days.) Feb 11, 2014 at 20:40
  • choster, the sun turns up even in the UK. It's just the word bleachers that does not.
    – Tristan r
    Feb 11, 2014 at 22:49

NRS does a good job explaining why are bleachers called bleachers: https://www.bleachers.net/why-are-bleachers-called-bleachers

  • 6
    Sorry, a link is useless: please quote the relevant portion. And in this case, the relevant portion says nothing more than the existing answer.
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 4, 2019 at 17:41
  • 1
    Your reference is pretty good. Please edit your reply to copy a few of the most relevant lines from it.
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 4, 2019 at 19:54

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