Is there a word for customers of fortune-tellers, like the way "john" is a customer of prostitutes or "junkie" is the customer of pushers or "bettor" is the customer of bookies?

(It probably sounds like I'm comparing fortune-telling to vices, but I'm honestly not trying to, they're just the examples which are coming to mind right now. Please disregard any perceived slur against the extra-sensorily gifted or their clients.)

  • You really should put fortune tellers next to those others. They can usually only tell your "fortune" by a skill in reading the person, and their "gift" is telling the seeker what they want to hear, who isn't aware of what they have revealed subliminally. If they don't make a charge, you have a "freebie". Feb 5, 2018 at 21:33
  • That wouldn't improve the question.
    – Beanluc
    Feb 5, 2018 at 21:36
  • 1
    My answer was seeker although the trade jargon could be mark Feb 5, 2018 at 21:37
  • 3
    I would be inclined to use the pejorative "mark".
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 5, 2018 at 21:37
  • @HotLicks sorry it was a "snap" edit, not a copy of your comment. Feb 5, 2018 at 21:39

3 Answers 3


Punter is the word I would use. A punter spends money in the hope of getting something to his/her advantage. It does have a slightly negative connotation, suggesting that his decision to spend is "a triumph of hope over experience".

  • Must be UK usage? In the US, a punter is someone who kicks a ball in their so-called "football" game.
    – GEdgar
    Feb 5, 2018 at 22:48
  • I can only speak for BrE.
    – JeremyC
    Feb 5, 2018 at 22:55
  • The Cambridge Dictionary certainly recognises it: dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/punter
    – Simon B
    Feb 5, 2018 at 23:03
  • @GEdgar Yes a "punter" is someone who places a bet with a bookmaker, and the word has been adapted to such people as clients of prostitutes. I would describe anyone who was a participant in any form of confidence trick (which is where I place fortune-telling) as a "punter". This is endorsed by the entry in the OED which specifically mentions "punter" as a participant in a confidence trick, along with many other similar senses. It also recognises it as a word for one who "punts" a boat, or someone who kicks the ball in games like rugby and American football.
    – WS2
    Feb 5, 2018 at 23:21

I'm fairly sure there is no one-word term for this. I've never heard one, even in specific literature about mysticism, and the Wikipedia article for fortune-telling repeatedly refers to them only as "clients". Other articles resort to "people who visit fortune-tellers" and other long-winded phrases.

  • Hello, clfm. Responses starting 'I'm pretty sure that ...' should be confined to 'comments'. Feb 5, 2018 at 22:53
  • I think this is a solid answer, assuming the OP wants a non-pejorative term. You could move your answer out of the "opinion" range by linking to the Wikipedia article and citing some other examples of usage from the specific literature you mention (a Google Books search or regular web search will help you find examples you can easily link to).
    – 1006a
    Feb 6, 2018 at 15:52

If the fortune-telling is done with tarot cards (cartomancy), the person receiving the reading could be called a readee.

One who receives a tarot reading.

And here's an excerpt from You Are Psychic: The Art of Clairvoyant Reading & Healing, in which the term readee appears to be used for anyone seeking an audience with a clairvoyant.

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