Is there an antonym for beneficiary that is not simply "giver" or "payer"? I'm looking for a word that roughly mean someone who loses financially in the case of an event.

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  • What are you looking for exactly? Please specify that more clearly, describe a situation, and if possible an example sentence in which you want to use the word. One possibility would be deceased since that is where the money comes from that the beneficiaries of a will will receive. It could also be insurance (company) in the case of the beneficiaries of an insurance policy. – oerkelens Nov 6 '14 at 14:20
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    ..........loser – Edwin Ashworth Nov 6 '14 at 14:44
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    Maybe victim? – Barmar Nov 6 '14 at 15:57
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    @gwatson Contributor, an alternative in an answer below, fits your example, and is used commonly to refer to people who pay compulsory taxes. – ghoppe Nov 6 '14 at 22:32
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    What is confusing is that you accepted an answer of which you say in a comment it is not the correct answer... – oerkelens Nov 7 '14 at 7:52

"Obligor" seems to capture the sense you are looking for.

From Oxford Online:

A person who owes or undertakes an obligation to another by contract or other legal procedure

An example from The Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America, $364.7(c):

Settlements may not be approved as to one joint obligor unless approved as to all obligors, including any other persons who may have previously assumed the debt.


From Oxford Advance Learner's Dictionary

benefactor /'be-nə-ˌfak-tər/ (noun) (formal)

a person who gives money or other help to a person or an organization such as a school or charity:


friends and benefactors of the hospital

Benefactor sounds like the best word if you are looking for a word with the same root as beneficiary. In other contexts, you can use donor, contributor, or even sponsor.

  • A benefactor gives money, that is not really "losing money in case of an event". Well, it is, but when I give you a present, it's bad form to later complain that I lost it... – oerkelens Nov 6 '14 at 14:21
  • I guess I didn't understand the question correctly. It appeared that you were looking for a good synonym for giver or payer. – Always Asking Nov 6 '14 at 16:22
  • I wasn't looking, actually :) – oerkelens Nov 6 '14 at 16:58
  • Yes, I agree that benefactor is a good answer. I should have included it in my exclusion list above. It really doesn't have the connotation I want. I've included a (very rough) example in the comments above. @Always Asking – gwatson Nov 6 '14 at 22:28

I don't think you're going to find a noun that satisfies your requirement, but there are several adjectives that describe such a person.

They could be accountable or liable, for instance, even if they aren't personally responsible, guilty or culpable of having caused the event.

  • Yes, you may be right. There has to be a german noun that means what I mean, right? I think I'm going to go with "unintentional benfactor" – gwatson Nov 6 '14 at 22:30

Here's the example:

Two parties commit fraud on behalf of their companies. One company is the beneficiary and the other is the... ?

Victim is the closest of all the words given above, but I wouldn't say that is the best still because its not like that company was entirely innocent. But its also not capturing the whole picture to simply call them the "payer," either.


If you (or anyone else) had in mind 'beneficiary' as someone who is the recipient of beneficence - a kindness perhaps not anticipated - then indeed there does not seem to be an antonym. But one might think there OUGHT to be - 'ought' by noting the existence of almost lost words such as maleficial which seems to be an antonym of beneficial. So can I suggest a neologism - maleficiary? Well, I am about to use it and see if the journal editors cry foul!

Ian Shaw

  • A neologism is a word; there are those who feel the need to distinguish between any assemblage of letters someone thinks it a good idea to unleash on the unsuspecting public and one that has been recently accepted into the English lexicon. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 16 '15 at 23:13

a Victim is maybe your best antonym to Beneficiary (at least that I could think of)

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    Hi, Danya. I think that the poster isn't looking for a true antonym of beneficiary (as you suggest, victim would make a pretty good opposite of that word), but a counterpart to beneficiary. I get that impression from the poster's talking about giver and payer as terms similar to the one he's looking for. In that case, benefactor is the obvious counterpart—and presumably the word that he was looking for. – Sven Yargs Nov 17 '15 at 6:01

I don't know of any standard or legal usage here, but how about (the) disadvantaged ? E.G.:

The beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act gain in large part at the expense of the (financially) disadvantaged; those who had to pay a higher premium than they otherwise would have before the implementation of the ACT.

(plenty of serviceable synonyms, especially with the use of "financially" before : the burdened, deprived, even shorn...) The only questions are which are formally accepted as nouns, and what connotation are you shooting for.

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