Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: TRADE

Date: 1400-1500
Origin: custom; from the custom of doing business in a particular place

customer

noun
     
cus‧tom‧er S1 W1 [countable]
1BBT someone who buys goods or services from a shop, company etc:
We aim to offer good value and service to all our customers.
We've had several letters from satisfied customers.
customer service/care
Many of the banks offer a poor level of customer service.
He's one of our regular customers.
best/biggest/largest customer (=the person or company who uses a shop or company the most)
2

awkward/tricky/tough etc customer

someone who is difficult to deal with because they behave in a deliberately unhelpful way

➔ cool customer

at cool1 (3)
WORD CHOICE: WORD CHOICE:

customer, client, patron, shopper, consumer
Customer is the most general word. A customer is someone who buys something from a particular shop. People who pay to use something such as a transport service can also be called customers A customer came in and bought several jackets. Customers are advised that the next train is delayed. A client is someone who pays for a service a hairdresser and her clients A patron of a particular restaurant, bar etc is someone who eats or drinks there. This is a fairly formal word and it is more usual to use customer Patrons are asked to refrain from smoking. A shopper is someone who is involved in the activity of buying things from shops The street was crowded with shoppers. A consumer is anyone who pays for goods and services. This word is used especially when you are talking about people's rights Consumers have a right to know what they are buying.
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