What single word would I use to describe a person who fills out a form? So if Abigail fills out a form she is a... whatever the term should be. The form is an application but the applicant does not fill it in himself. The person who fills it out may be a secretary or a manager. It needs to be one word. "Filler-inner" does not sound right. Data-capturer is two words.

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    Does this have to do with BUILDING A WEB INTERFACE? People love UX questions on here, but we need to know. – Fattie Aug 27 '14 at 11:51
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    No... But I am a programmer – abiNerd Aug 27 '14 at 11:54
  • Do you want a word relating to paper forms (ie, government paper paperwork, say) or do you want a word relating to a "form" on a web page ( < input .. > etc.) or perhaps in an app (UICollectionView...). Which is it you were thinking about here, User8? – Fattie Aug 27 '14 at 11:58
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    To be honest you need to just write "The person who first filled-in this form." – Fattie Aug 27 '14 at 13:12
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    Applicants tend to fill out their own applications/forms these days, btw. I can't convince any secretary anywhere to do my paperwork for me. – TylerH Aug 28 '14 at 15:16

11 Answers 11


I decided to turn to existing forms rather than just reaching into the air for an obscure term. Here's the USCIS I-129F form, which is a government form that might be prepared by someone other than the petitioner. They call this person the preparer.

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    BINGO! +1 (if I had more, I'd give them) – Dan Bron Aug 27 '14 at 13:33
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    What a counter-intuitive usage. I would think the preparer of that form—regardless of who fills it in or petitions—would be the Department of Homeland Security, since they’re the ones who prepared the form so you can fill it out. Perhaps I’m just fortunate enough not to have had to fill out many official US forms in my lifetime (for which I truly do count my blessings). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 27 '14 at 14:01
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    @JanusBahsJacquet Preparing the form entails not just filling it out but also producing a large number of attachments. The USCIS designed the form, I'd say. – Casey Aug 27 '14 at 14:08
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    The U.S. IRS also uses the term 'preparer' for the person who fill out the forms (who may not necessarily be the person paying taxes) – Joe Aug 27 '14 at 23:19
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    IMHO, in the the US, preparer is generally used in association with tax forms or other government forms. I am not sure I hear it in any other context. @geoththeory (below) suggests probably the widest accepted term here: respondent – ctbrown Aug 29 '14 at 4:01

Submitter, because they just submitted the form?

-- to present (something) (optionally for a approval / review)

For example, I submit an edit here, I am the submitter.

User is another option.

  • +1. I'm not a native speaker, and from the options listed here, this would be the least confusing to me: If I submit the form, I'm a submitter. Both respondent and preparer seem to me to have another meaning which would easily confuse me. – yo' Aug 29 '14 at 13:20
  • @tohecz me too! A preparer is someone who makes it, and a respondent is a defendant in a lawsuit... – Tim Aug 29 '14 at 16:17
  • This is a good answer, but the person submitting the form does not necessarily have to have filled it out. Probably not a significant distinction in the OP's case though. – Casey Aug 31 '14 at 2:17

How about


re•spond•er (rɪˈspɒn dər)

n. 1. a person or thing that responds.

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    I think respondent is more appropriate. Responder sounds like an electronic component! – geotheory Aug 27 '14 at 13:16
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    "Responder" calls to mind "first responders" but I agree that "respondent" conveys the intended meaning quite well. – Casey Aug 27 '14 at 13:34
  • @tchrist Seems like one is linked. – Casey Aug 31 '14 at 2:15
  • @emodendroket No, I am asking that the citation please be brought into alignment with the requirement stated here and here. A link is not a reference. – tchrist Aug 31 '14 at 2:17

Consider formfiller, something or someone who fills out forms. For example:

He used to be the best formfiller I ever knew. But now...

I don't have a dictionary reference for this form, but see en.wiktionary's definition of formfilling as “The filling out of forms”.

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    I prefer "formfillerouter". – Hot Licks Aug 29 '14 at 2:58

Could you not auto-populate the field with the name of the Active User? That's more of a coding answer than a language one, so how about: "Agent"?

  • Yes I would auto-populate with the AD username. Excuse my ignorance - why does agent make sense in this scenario? – abiNerd Aug 27 '14 at 9:40
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    An agent is simply one who does a specified task (in this case form completion) for another. – Matt Gutting Aug 27 '14 at 10:43

you could use "applicant" . . .

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    english.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-answer: Brevity is acceptable, but fuller explanations are better. Quotations, sources, links to dictionary items,... – Honza Zidek Aug 27 '14 at 18:18
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    This would only be true for an application form, not for all forms. – Chenmunka Aug 27 '14 at 18:44
  • Oops . . . I suppose I should have read the entire question . . . apologies! – terri Aug 27 '14 at 19:27
  • The question specifically mentions and rejects "applicant" because it's discussing the situation where the person doing the data entry is not the applicant themselves. – nobody Aug 28 '14 at 19:57

If the form is usually filled in on behalf of other people then the standard term I have seen most often is agent and in long-form agent for XXX or acting as agent for XXX such as on prescription forms or other applications.

I think preparer is ambiguous - you could interpret that as the person who prepared the form for you to fill in. Then again, I'm married to a long-term public servant and I often find government writing ambiguous and overly wordy, with massive sentence run-on, to the extent where the point of the original sentence is lost or obscured.

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    True, but "agent" is pretty ambiguous too -- given that all it really means is "one who acts." – Casey Aug 31 '14 at 2:25

If this person or (I'm guessing) process is populating a form, you could call it a "populator".

This usage is well-attested in programming contexts, viz. the popular (heh) Ruby module (gem)


Populate an Active Record database with mass insertion.

This [module] adds a “populate” method to all Active Record models. Pass the number of records you want to create along with a [the data you want associated with each record].

Author: RyanB; Host: GitHub

By a similar chain of logic, if the agent is documenting -- that is, describing the facts of -- the applicant, then you could call him the applicant's "documentor".

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    @tchrist, please do not boilerplate me. A simple request that I make a minor edit to my answer to comply with this (recently enforced) policy would have sufficed. Better would have been to take advantage of the tools the SE technology specifically provides, and do so yourself. – Dan Bron Aug 30 '14 at 21:03
  • Why should I have to be the one to fix your violations? How would you learn to do it yourself then? – tchrist Aug 30 '14 at 21:04
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    Because that's what the tools are for? Because it took literally took 13 seconds and would have saved some animus? Because it would have maintained a positive, welcoming tone on this stack (which is hardly flooded with bad faith posts; we're not SO here)? Because you know me? Anyway, it's done. – Dan Bron Aug 30 '14 at 21:07
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    Boilerplate threats and discourteous treatment of regular, good rep users (whom you know) doesn't "scale" either. But no matter; English.SE is a site for confirmed pedants (neither am I excluded from that description). I should expect to be treated pedantically. – Dan Bron Aug 30 '14 at 21:14
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    Yes, it was discourteous. Yes, it was threatening (it contained a threat). Perhaps the discourtesy was unintentional (benefit of the doubt, here), but the threat was intentional. And no, i don't want attaboys: I want the common, everyday decency of asking simply and politely that I include additional attributive detail in my answer. Could've been 5 words. And, speaking of "scaling", would've saved you both the time and effort of engaging in a debate about it. In other words, those 5 words would have saved you 500. It's going to take a lot of boilerplate copy/pastes to make up for that. – Dan Bron Aug 30 '14 at 21:25

While often considered archaic, consider scrivener

a person who writes out deeds, letters, etc; copyist [Collins]

This would not apply to the applicant herself, only an listed assistant.

You also could use scribe

A person who copies out documents, especially one employed to do this before printing was invented. [Oxford Dictionaries Online]

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    unfortunately this seems irrelevant, in the context the OP now explains in a comment – Fattie Aug 27 '14 at 13:11


Though I still like 'Filler-inner'.

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    Welcome to EL&U. Answers on this network are expected to provide explanations, not one-word answers, and should include suitable references. I encourage you to take the site tour and visit the help center for further guidance. – choster Aug 27 '14 at 13:49
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    This answer does not fit any meaning of the verb transcribe that I (or the OED) am aware of. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 27 '14 at 13:58
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    While the comment containing the dictionary reference is relevant and probably won't be deleted, perhaps you would like to move it into a more permanent location? You could expand your answer to show how transcriber might be justified, for example. – Andrew Leach Aug 28 '14 at 7:21
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    Carl, the idea is that you can (and should) edit the link into your answer, rather than leaving it hanging in a comment. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Aug 28 '14 at 13:32

Of course the answer is Fillosopher. According to the website, XWord Info

Crossword puzzle answer to: “Sage at gas pump” May 24,1981

A fillosopher fills things.

Kate Mulligan (KatesMonterey) on Twitter

Lifelong artist, photographer of light on life, and gastronomic fillosopher.  From the biography of Kate Mulligan, she is an artist, photographer and gastronomic fillosopher.

The difference between filling up and filling out is a moot point. The base, “fill” alerts the reader that something is being entered. So Fillosopher it is.:)

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    It raised a smile from me, but not enough to upvote your answer! :) – Mari-Lou A Aug 30 '14 at 20:16

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