I am looking for nouns for

  1. A person who made a complaint;

  2. The person who is being complained about.

I would have used "complainer" but that sounds wrong as it is closer to saying that person likes to complain a lot.

5 Answers 5


A person who made a complaint is a complainant

A person who is being complained about is a complainee

Edit :

I've had a good look on the internet and can't find a definition of complainee other than those used in contracts for housing associations (worldwide) and similar not strictly legal enforcement entities, however the word is used very widely in the meaning of the person who is complained about in all manner of places, legal and otherwise include the UK Police Guide and the US Attorney General website.

It's used but not defined in a couple of legal dictionaries and the only place that I've found a definition for it is the OED1 which defines is as

(kɒmˌpleɪˈniː) [f. complain v. + -ee, the suffix not being here etymological.] The person complained against.

It's not marked as 'rare' or 'obsolete'. One reference in one dictionary usually doesn't stand a word in good stead but as it's the OED I imagine that gives it some weight. Why it's not defined on other dictionaries is a mystery.

It's also worth nothing that on my scour of the internet I found an awful lot of people using it to mean the complainant as in there were a lot of us complainees talking to the manager so if you need to then you should make it clear what you mean.

  • 4
    +1 for complainant, but I can not google complainee from common results Jun 18, 2014 at 6:53
  • 1
    @user1589188 Terms that are based in the law and found in a legal dictionary
    – Third News
    Jun 18, 2014 at 6:58
  • I'm surprised that complainee isn't readily accessible online, it's a common enough term that isn't burdened with the gravity of defendant. Normally a defendant would be in a court of law, a complainee would more likely be found in a private hearing.
    – Frank
    Jun 18, 2014 at 7:23
  • 2
    Used in fewer circumstances, but also valid for the one being complained about is respondent. Jun 18, 2014 at 8:27

"Respondent" can be used to describe a person against whom a complaint is made.

  • This doesn't seem right to me--the person being complained about might be a respondent, but they might not be. Also, you don't answer the whole question.
    – herisson
    Jun 24, 2015 at 3:11
  • +1 This is indeed the standard term for the party opposed to the complainant in some legal proceedings.
    – Sven Yargs
    Jan 19, 2016 at 20:59
  • For example in MIT disciplinary cases: studentlife.mit.edu/faqs/…
    – Henry
    Aug 20, 2017 at 12:47

A word for complainer is :

Querulist : complainer


accused, defendant, or suspect for the person who is being complained about.


Grievant is another good word for the complainer, as in the person who filed the grievance.

  • Interesting suggestion. Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) traces grievant (which it defines as "one who submits a grievance for arbitration") to 1958, and the word's Ngram graph indicates that it remains fairly rare. Even rarer, though, is grievee, which is occasionally used to indicate the party against whom the grievant's grievance is directed.
    – Sven Yargs
    Jan 19, 2016 at 21:08

Consider, plaintiff/defendant


n. the party who initiates a lawsuit by filing a complaint with the clerk of the court against the defendant(s) demanding damages, performance and/or court determination of rights. Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill

  • It's a little law-related.
    – hola
    May 18, 2021 at 3:50

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