Is there one word that can describe the following words?

customer, business, and vendor.

I am working on a system, and I need to somehow fit all the above categories under one page. Currently, I have thought about putting them under "Entities", but this just doesn't sound right to me...

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  • A "business" could be a general category (such as show business) or an activity ("we did a lot of business last quarter"). A "business" could also be either a customer or a vendor. What kind of business are we to deal with here?
    – David K
    Jul 31, 2016 at 18:09
  • I read 'business' in the sense of 'company', 'firm' or 'organisation'. If that's correct I am then guessing that the 'customer' and the 'vendor' are, respectively, a customer and supplier of the business. If this is the case I would support @alwayslearning's suggestion of 'party'. Otherwise I'm not too sure that the business would be a party.
    – BoldBen
    Oct 8, 2016 at 19:24
  • Please provide a linguistic context for the word you're looking for. That is, how would it look in a sentence / paragraph / etc, not just as a heading?
    – Lawrence
    Aug 26, 2018 at 10:13

6 Answers 6


Party (MW dictionary):

3:  a person or group participating in an action or affair 

a mountain-climbing party

party to the transaction

Examples of party in a sentence:

the two parties in the marriage contract

The parties in the lawsuit reached a settlement.



Quoting BBC for Schools site:

stakeholder is anyone with an interest in a business. Stakeholders are individuals, groups or organisation that are affected by the activity of the business. They include:

  • Owners who are interested in how much profit the business makes.
  • Managers who are concerned about their salary.
  • Workers who want to earn high wages and keep their jobs.
  • Customers who want the business to produce quality products at reasonable prices.
  • Suppliers who want the business to continue to buy their products.
  • Lenders who want to be repaid on time and in full.
  • The community which has a stake in the business as employers of local people. [...].

You could also try 'actor'. It is formal but according to Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 'actor' means '[...] 3: one that takes part in any affair'.

Or you could also try 'transactor' – from 'transaction', which would include purchase/sale.

  • Thanks. I'm writing a program that has services and clients to those services, represented as OO classes. I've discovered that the two have enough in common that I should have a common base-class for both of them, but finding an appropriate descriptor has been challenging! "Transactor" is the best I've discovered thus far. Although some of their interaction is one-way messaging, some are actual transactions. Feb 13, 2021 at 5:24

If you're looking for an umbrella term that encompasses them all along with their various relationships - as opposed to a word that can refer to any of the three - then I'd suggest something like "business ecosystem" (or even just "ecosystem").



How about

Transactional Level


Relating to buying and selling see here


I would suggest the term "Partner". Seems to classify all three terms as one.

  • Hi Ron. Welcome to the site. Thanks for taking the time out to answer. Please consider expanding your answer with some further explanation such as an example sentence, or a citation with a source.
    – Lumberjack
    Aug 23, 2018 at 14:56

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