If I were to place "orders on behalf of" Jack, then what is the word I would use to refer Jack?

I could not figure out what I would call Jack in one word, if I were to inform that in an email or in correspondence to someone else.

I need the answer on the likes of assignee-assigner. Can someone help?



  • 1
    You could try 'client'. You would then be Jack's 'agent'.
    – Grimxn
    Sep 16, 2014 at 9:23
  • I thought of that initially, but it would not look good on an email. Any other word? Thanks
    – Sid
    Sep 16, 2014 at 9:36
  • OK, so this isn't a generic question - you need to elaborate on the relationship (beyond ordering stuff for him) that you have (or want to portray that you have) with Jack...
    – Grimxn
    Sep 16, 2014 at 9:38
  • Here it goes. Kim is a nurse in the hospital, and she is supposed to place "orders on behalf of" Jack, who is a provider/doctor. I am supposed to describe this in an email to my client. What is the word I can use to refer Jack.
    – Sid
    Sep 16, 2014 at 9:45
  • In industry, Kim would simply be referred to as a "Buyer" or "Purchaser" - they are real job titles! Not sure about health-care. Perhaps "procurer", though that has other connotations!
    – Grimxn
    Sep 16, 2014 at 9:47

3 Answers 3


You are describing a principal-agent relationship. A principal is

A person for whom another acts as an agent or representative: stockbrokers in Tokyo act as agents rather than as principals

An agent is

A person who acts on behalf of another.

[Oxford Dictionaries Online]

In connection with the orders, Jack is your principal.

These terms are used more in business and law than in casual conversation.


It's normal to in this case that we would refer to Jack by our relationship to him.

If this is someone that we work with with then we can say:

I am ordering on behalf of my colleague.

This can be used when your colleague isn't just the person at the next but practically anyone in the same organisation. They could be your boss but the person you're talking to doesn't need to know that and probably doesn't care.

Obviously we can put a variety of things in there as appropriate: friend, mother, family member, client, gardener, neighbour, someone I met recently who just needed some help etc.


In that situation, Jack would simply be the "doctor" or "provider". Kim, on the other hand, may be a "proxy" or "agent" or simply "nurse". This type of relationship tends to use professional titles rather than descriptive ones

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