I'm in a similar situation to crodjer, in that I am struggling with a word to describe a concept.

In his case, he had a job, for which some people are responsible, say: a, b, c, d and e. In my case, a can elect one or more proxies to act on his behalf, say: f and g; similarly, b could elect g and h as his proxies.

I'm happy with the term 'proxy' for the person the task has been delegated to, but I wonder what the reverse term is, i.e. in the example above, if g is a proxy of b, what is b to g?

  • There might be a word specific to your situation - can you give more context as to what is being proxied? – Matt E. Эллен Dec 6 '11 at 10:50
  • In a system, several paperwork checks are performed by a set of people - some of the people involved would prefer to delegate their checks to someone else (who may, or may not, report to them) – Rowland Shaw Dec 6 '11 at 10:55

The word you are looking for might be principal. Although the more usual pairing is principal-agent, I believe that principal is correct in such contexts as proxy voter, which is nearly what you have in your example.

  • +1: I too thought principal could be the right candidate, though I could not find any authentic references. – Kris Dec 6 '11 at 11:54
  • This is the word I would use in a legal, e.g. company management, situation. – Marcin Dec 6 '11 at 11:54
  • Slightly more politically correct than Master/Slave which is all I could think of as a pairing... – Rowland Shaw Dec 6 '11 at 12:54
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    Was coming here to ask the same question. Unfortunately in my case I'm designing a DB related to schools and it's a TeacherProxy and TeacherPrincipal but seeing as how there's a set of Principals (ie, actual school admins) in the DB, I think this would be confusing. I'm just going to have to go with TeacherAssignerGuyThing (jk). Thanks! =) – Adam Plocher Jun 30 '15 at 1:10

I am not sure about this, but can we take delegator as the one who delegates?

  • Yes, but this word is purely generic, and for certain things there may be a more idiomatic term, such as principal. – Marcin Dec 6 '11 at 11:55

According to Black's Law Dictionary Online, "principal" is the correct word for the person who delegates power to an agent or proxy. Black's was first published in Britain; now there are American editions as well. In American law schools, Black's is the traditional authority.


There are also representatives, delegates and constituents.

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