I need an abstraction for the above terms.

In financial services, counterparty is often used.

Another hypernym could be account (although this sounds more like a bank account, or user/login account).

Also third-party account (although I've never heard of this one).

Which would be the correct way and/or most descriptive term?

My reason for asking is that I am designing a new database schema and want a base name from which these three types will inherit.

All of these people "transact" in business, and that's what they have in common.

  • 2
    The faq says not to ask for suggestions for variable names. I suspect this is why you got downvoted. Feb 17, 2013 at 19:43
  • In what contexts would it be meaningful to distinguish between Supplier and Manufacturer? Feb 17, 2013 at 20:55
  • This is something of an economics question (as an economist, I can think of answers). I recast the question in that light and wonder if it can be re-opened in its current form. Because while the terms are (slightly) esoteric, they are in English.
    – Tom Au
    Jun 11, 2014 at 20:25
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers: A "non-manufacturing" supplier could be a distributor or retailer. The question is a bit esoteric, but IMHO not off topic.
    – Tom Au
    Jun 11, 2014 at 20:26
  • 2
    @Tom: 'Cos I'm such a good guy (well, truly, more because you claim to have plural "answers"), I'll second your reopen vote. But if I'd been in OP's position the first thing I'd have done is double-check my database design (if there's no obvious word for the "collection", maybe it's too far from the real-world to be worth lumping the entities together in one storage type). If I still wanted it, I'd just ignore dictionaries and go for transactor as "one involved in the transaction chain". As a rule I tend to think "Please name my variable" doesn't make a good ELU question. Jun 11, 2014 at 20:40

3 Answers 3


As a professional economist, the term I would use to describe all those parties is (economic) agent. A broader, more generic term, is "trader."


I might use the term associate or business associate. This could apply to anyone that you do business with.

Outside of the context that you provided, if I were to organize my contacts, I might have a group called business associates. For another example, in my business, successes are often recognized by inviting the business associates to a celebration.

Of course, in managing software development, I imagine you would want to be able to communicate its functionality in terms that closely resemble a natural language. Knowing proper natural language terminology is essential to simplifying that process. You might elide from natural language in your actual software, but in modern software development the distinction between simplified computer naming and natural language can be minimized. This has the clear advantage that your terms become easy to understand by people as well as by machines.


I'd call them "trading partners" or "trading parties". If you are building a software, and these parties are the users of your application, the you could call them just "users".

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