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[kuhs-tuh-mer] /ˈkʌs tə mər/
a person who purchases goods or services from another; buyer; patron.
Informal. a person one has to deal with:
a tough customer; a cool customer.
Origin of customer
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English; see custom, -er1; compare Middle English customer collector of customs < Anglo-French; Old French costumier, cognate with Medieval Latin custumārius; see customary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for customer
  • For example, a company may simply decide to move its local customer services operation to one of its own subsidiaries abroad.
  • If you still have a problem, please contact customer services.
  • Ultimately, the customer pays for all the fixes through rate increases.
  • It all depends on what the customer wants from a fairly extensive list.
  • Our version of a perfect customer experience is one in which our customer doesn't want to talk to us.
  • She was having trouble converting customer interest into actual appointments.
  • Experience with and skill in delivering exceptional customer service.
  • If you are still experiencing problems, please contact customer service.
  • The customer left and she went back under the work bench.
  • Usually when a company raises prices they do so apologetically, anticipating customer anger.
British Dictionary definitions for customer


a person who buys
(informal) a person with whom one has dealings: a cool customer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for customer

late 14c., "customs official;" later "buyer" (early 15c.), from Anglo-French custumer, from Medieval Latin custumarius, from Latin consuetudinarius (see custom (n.)). More generalized meaning "a person with whom one has dealings" emerged 1540s; that of "a person to deal with" (usually wth an adjective, tough, etc.) is by 1580s. In Shakespeare, the word also can mean "prostitute."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for customer



A person; cookie •The word has a tinge of disapproval: a tough customer/ She's a shrewd customer

[1580s+; perhaps an expansion of cuss]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with customer


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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