Imagine a database to keep clients' data. Clients can be either humans/persons or companies. For human/person clients there is additional data to be stored, like gender, age. What word works better in this context? My first thought was Person, but as it turned out companies can also be persons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_personhood). And human client just sounds odd to me. What should I use and why?

  • I would describe companies as 'institutions' (the legal niceties notwithsatnding).
    – Dan
    Jan 21, 2016 at 21:47
  • @Dan This raises another question I think. Clients implies business, company is a business organization, and institution is a more wide term, just any organization.
    – catemperor
    Jan 21, 2016 at 21:59
  • 1
    Personally, I would use "individual" and "organization". If you were to have a government or an NGO as a client they would not strictly speaking be a business.
    – Al Maki
    Jan 21, 2016 at 23:28
  • Legal fictions aside, a lot of people regard their pets as people.
    – Spencer
    Oct 8, 2018 at 22:39

1 Answer 1


Many philosophers subscribe to the following usages:

Human refers to a member of the biological species homo sapiens.

Person is used more generally to refer to things with consciousness and agency; things with selves. In addition to humans, androids, angels, gods, and aliens can all be persons.

Data that is specific to humans like age, gender, etc. might be called biographical data. While it is true that some people use the phrase "company bio" and "company biography," the word "biography" very heavily connotes information about human persons.

If you're just looking for a dichotomy, you might consider using individual client (for individual humans) versus corporate client (for companies).

  • 2
    +1 for Individual vs Corporate (or company).
    – dwjohnston
    Jan 21, 2016 at 23:27

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