noun, often attributive
con·sum·er | \kən-ˈsü-mər \

Definition of consumer 

: one that consumes: such as

a : one that utilizes economic goods Many consumers make purchases on the Internet.

b : an organism requiring complex organic compounds for food which it obtains by preying on other organisms or by eating particles of organic matter — compare producer sense 3

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Other Words from consumer

consumership \kən-ˈsü-mər-ˌship \ noun

Examples of consumer in a Sentence

Many consumers are still not comfortable making purchases on the Internet.

Recent Examples on the Web

And consumer advocates said utility companies will often come up with payment plans for customers trying to chip away at their unpaid bills rather than cutting them off. New York Times, "‘Totally Preventable’: How a Sick Woman Lost Electricity, and Her Life," 13 July 2018 The consumer advocate agreed to drop a court challenge as its part of the settlement. Andrew Maykuth,, "Pa. approves Aqua's contentious $75M sewer system acquisition," 12 July 2018 Lenders and consumer advocates also say that Insikt and its finders could make larger loans without trying to change state law. James Rufus Koren,, "Latest battle over California lending market: Should grocery stores offer large loans?," 12 July 2018 Elliott is a consumer advocate, journalist and co-founder of the advocacy group Travelers United. Christopher Elliott,, "For people with diabetes, air travel can present a host of challenges," 12 July 2018 There most certainly will be collateral damage, including many manufacturers and particularly all consumers, who will pay more. Phillip Molnar,, "Can the U.S. economy withstand a trade war?," 13 July 2018 Trump's latest action will hit consumer products, such as televisions, clothing, bedsheets and air conditioners, which were spared from the first import levies Friday. Danielle Paquette,, "U.S. proposes tariffs on $200 billion more in Chinese imports," 11 July 2018 Even under the new tariff list, the biggest categories of Chinese consumer-product imports have been spared. Jacob M. Schlesinger, WSJ, "This Time Around, Chinese Consumer Products Would Face Tariffs," 11 July 2018 Kayvon Beykpour, the former CEO of Twitter’s live-streaming service Periscope and its current GM of video, is taking over as Twitter’s top consumer product boss as part of an executive shuffle. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Five journalists are dead after a gunman opens fire at a Maryland newspaper," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consumer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of consumer

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for consumer

see consume

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Statistics for consumer

Last Updated

28 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for consumer

The first known use of consumer was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for consumer



English Language Learners Definition of consumer

: a person who buys goods and services


con·sum·er | \kən-ˈsü-mər \

Kids Definition of consumer

1 : a person who buys and uses up goods

2 : a living thing that must eat other organisms to obtain energy necessary for life



Legal Definition of consumer 

: one that utilizes economic goods specifically : an individual who purchases goods for personal use as distinguished from commercial use

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