Is there an antonym of client for the following context?

The [?] performs services for his clients.

Usually one would just specify the profession or job title:

The contractor does home improvement for his clients.

But is there a term that is as generic as client? I thought of professional, but that obviously implies they are practicing a profession, which they might not be.

  • 2
    The the word you are looking for is the other half of a relationship, not an opposite. You want a complement (the part that completes the concept) not an antonym.
    – bib
    Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 0:51
  • 4
    Server, of course :) Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 1:34
  • @AffableGeek In the US, server is usually reserved for wait-staff (waiters and waitresses) in restaurants and bars.
    – bib
    Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 13:58
  • 4
    @bib I'm joking. Just a silly little IT-insider humor Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 14:00
  • 2
    @bib Note that complementary relationships are still considered a kind of antonym. Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 23:25

5 Answers 5


You have pointed out some of the difficulties related to the broad range of possible categories of services involved. Lawyers have clients, as do carpenters, manicurists and numerous other professions and tradespeople.

A term that is sometimes used is service provider.

BUSINESS a company that provides a service, for example insurance or medical treatment

It distinguishes the company or person proving services from a provider of goods (whose counterparts are usually called customers). Note, however, that the term is also used to identify a company that provides internet connectivity.

  • 3
    Some folks use vendor in this context too. Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 23:26

You might consider:

Consultant: 2: one who gives professional advice or services : expert

from m-w.com


I actually think "contractor", which you've mentioned yourself, is as close as you're likely to find to a generic complement for "client". The nature of the relationship is that the client engages the "contractor" (i.e. the interaction is initiated by the client -- this is how the client-server terminology is derived), and enters into some kind of agreement. Idiomatically, "contractor" will frequently sound odd in this context, but semantically it expresses the relationship in a suitably generic way, in my opinion.


It is common to pair client with 'business' (the business provides services to its clients), but you seem to be asking about a certain individual rather than an entity. 'Businessman' works as well, but it is interesting that 'client' (or 'customer') can be so vague while the other side of the transaction seems to be specified more precisely.


If one is not a client then they are in fact a prospect.

Edit- An advisor.

  • 1
    Please read the question carefully and answer the question, which was effectively asking for a name for client of ??? - not a name for a prospective client.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 22:57

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