I'm after a word that best describes a person that works under someone else.

For example, I had a joke with my manager saying that I have to do his bidding because I'm his subordinate. We laughed, then later thought what is the actual word for this relationship with a manager? Subordinate seems a little harsh for the context.

For context you could call this a standard office type work environment.

Edit: I'm in the UK.

  • 3
    Believe it or not, subordinate is the word that best describes someone who works under someone else. I'd say it sounds more like a technical term rather than something harsh. Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 12:38
  • thought it was gofer.
    – lbf
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 13:58
  • 2
    I remember hearing the term reportee but am not able to find an online reference. Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 17:12

2 Answers 2


a subordinate TFD

Subject to the authority or control of another

And likely in this org you have those superior to you.

  • Someone of higher rank than you is senior to you. Superior to is also used, but it might be misunderstood, because it also means "better than".
    – Rosie F
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 16:12
  • @RosieF By that logic, senior could also be misunderstood, because it also means "older than".
    – Dispenser
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 17:59
  • @RosieF superior as a noun is less ambiguous (link to dictionary).
    – JJJ
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 18:02
  • "Subordinate", other than in a formal register, is outmoded. It has no direct replacement, but people say things like "John works for/reports to Fred" - or "Fred is his line manager".
    – WS2
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 22:43

A little less formally, you could describe yourself as a 'member of his team'. He is the team leader, so the team belongs to him. It’s a little tongue-in-cheek when there are only two members of the team in total.

Other alternatives (ranging in colloquialism). You are his

  • sidekick (like Batman and Robin)

  • lackey

  • henchman

  • junior (because he is senior to you)

  • underling

  • assistant

  • deputy

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