cus·​tom·​er | \ ˈkə-stə-mər How to pronounce customer (audio) \

Definition of customer

1 : one that purchases a commodity or service The customer used a credit card for the purchase.
2 : an individual usually having some specified distinctive trait a real tough customer … let me give you the advice of an old and world-weary customer.— Flannery O'Connor

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Synonyms for customer


account, client, guest, patron, punter [chiefly British]

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Examples of customer in a Sentence

She is one of our best customers. She's a pretty cool customer.

Recent Examples on the Web

The expansion gives Trillium the largest potential customer base of any CCO., "Trillium, PacificSource win in $6 billion CCO beauty contest," 9 July 2019 Tesla, by contrast, needs to master the problem for its global customer base. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "“Close to 10%” of Autopilot software team reportedly departs after shakeup," 9 July 2019 Walmart, the nation's largest retailer with $388 billion in sales, according to the National Retail Federation, has created its own shopping bonanza to try to steal some of Amazon's captive customer base's business. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "Amazon's retail competitors primed to compete on Prime Day," 8 July 2019 The plane was dirty, food was nasty and the customer service agents on the phone were the worst. Eric Todisco,, "Alitalia Apologizes After Using Actor in Blackface to Play President Obama in Video Ad," 8 July 2019 Shifting demographics, a shrinking customer base and higher rents all made doing business in Hartford more difficult, Daniel D’Aprile said in a recent interview. Greg Bordonaro,, "Hartford’s stifling property taxes make it difficult for businesses to prosper — and remain in the city," 7 July 2019 Both PayPal and Square, of course, are looking to build much more than a niche customer base. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Square is pulling further ahead of Venmo, boosted by reaching the underbanked," 4 July 2019 The company understands its customer base better than politicians do. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Like it or not, Nike's 'Betsy Ross' controversy shows politics in sports here to stay," 3 July 2019 Tolkien’s world is a huge get for Amazon, which is working to grow its customer base as companies like Apple and Disney muscle their way into the streaming video market, especially as HBO’s Game of Thrones just ended. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s J.A. Bayona will direct Amazon’s Lord of the Rings show," 3 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'customer.' 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 customer

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for customer

Middle English custumer, from custume — see custom entry 1

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Statistics for customer

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for customer

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

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More Definitions for customer



English Language Learners Definition of customer

: someone who buys goods or services from a business
informal : a person who has a particular quality


cus·​tom·​er | \ ˈkə-stə-mər How to pronounce customer (audio) \

Kids Definition of customer

: a person who buys from or uses the services of a company especially regularly



Legal Definition of customer

1 : a person or business that purchases a commodity or service
2a : a person or entity having an account with a bank or on whose behalf the bank has agreed to collect items
b : a person or entity for whom an issuer issues a letter of credit

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Comments on customer

What made you want to look up customer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to complain fretfully

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