What category of nouns describes this group?

Verb -> Noun

  • To drive -> driver
  • To compute -> computer
  • To paint -> painter
  • To clean -> cleaner
  • To process -> processor
  • To calculate -> calculator
  • To write -> writer
  • etc.

I am looking for a list of nouns, derived from a verb, that represent the person or thing doing the action. I've found lists of action verbs and lists of action words, but not lists of "action nouns" (assuming this would be the category name).

This page shows different categories of nouns (common nouns, proper nouns, abstract nouns, concrete nouns, etc.), but none of them seem to match what I'm looking for.


  • These are all 'professions', although I suspect that that's due to your choice in examples and won't hold for all nouns you've described. (For what it's worth, calculator used to also be a profession.)
    – Jeutnarg
    Jan 11, 2017 at 16:32

1 Answer 1


They are all common nouns because they refer to a person that is not the name of a particular person which is a proper noun. Merriam-Webster defines a common noun as

a word (such as “singer,” “ocean,” or “car”) that refers to a person, place, or thing but that is not the name of a particular person, place, or thing

You could also call them "agent noun":

In linguistics, an agent noun (in Latin, nomen agentis) is a word that is derived from another word denoting an action, and that identifies an entity that does that action. For example, "driver" is an agent noun formed from the verb "drive".


  • 10
    Agent Nouns seems like a perfect fit for what I'm looking for, thank you! Jan 11, 2017 at 6:09
  • 2
    Cool. My surname is one of those "doer" nouns, and now that I know it's an Agent Noun that means I can be an International Man of Mystery or something. Jan 11, 2017 at 17:04

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