I've been wondering whether it is somewhat derogatory to call a user a punter. For instance,

We should encourage punters to participate in the discussions.

Update: My apologies — I owe you an explanation. I do a lot of User Experience work for an organisation (online service) where internally users are occasionally referred to as punters. Because personas, customers and users are centric to my line of work, it bothers me every time I hear a word that may even remotely indicate users' inferiority. You know what they say — "Great UX is cultural". I've read a few references, but because English isn't my first language I wanted to find out whether there is a subtle nuance beyond a dictionary definition.

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    This question needs some elaboration, I think. What is a punter in this context, and why might it be derogatory?
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 22:57
  • As J.R said, without other elaboration, we can only tell you to be conscious of your choice of language: avoid jargon.
    – user19148
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 23:00
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    Punter is a standard British term which can be applied to users or customers.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 23:01
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    Punter can also mean one who punts, which, in American English, means one who is prone to give up in the face of adversity. I still think more elaboration would be nice – "users" is a rather vague word, too.
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 23:07
  • OP: Add context and some details, so we can know.
    – Kris
    Commented Oct 18, 2012 at 5:36

1 Answer 1



1 informal, chiefly British a person who gambles, places a bet, or makes a risky investment.
• a customer or client, especially a member of an audience.
• a prostitute’s client.

It certainly could be derogatory. It does indicate an off-hand or casual attitude to customer service to call consumers punters.

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    If the user is of a betting online application, they'd probably not get offended. It is a rather "low class" word though.
    – Chris
    Commented Oct 18, 2012 at 5:20
  • It's inconceivable a betting dotcom - which deals in billions of dollars and to which clients entrust thousands to millions of dollars - would use the term "punter". (Find an example.) UNLESS specifically their marketing took an incredibly jokey, whacky approach - but what companies that deal with money do that? The only online companies that deal with as much money as the gaming companies are (a) a few online brokerages and (b) the bigger online banks. (cont...)
    – Fattie
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 9:35
  • ... For all three of those categories, it seems inconceivable they would use slang terms, anything less than "irreproachable language". Again, you MIGHT be able to find a casino, bank or brokerage that (for some reason) has a "whacky! offensive! slang!" vibe in their marketing. (Like if, say, Virgin Media has a gaming division, or some such.) If anyone can find an example, it would indeed be such a "jokey! silly!" marketing vibe. the extremely short answer is it's inconceivable you'd use that term normally in marketing. (No more than McD. or Coke would refer to clients as "fatties".)
    – Fattie
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 9:38

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