[ kuhn-soo-mer ]
See synonyms for: consumerconsumers on

  1. a person or thing that consumes.

  2. Economics. a person or organization that uses a commodity or service.

  1. Ecology. an organism, usually an animal, that feeds on plants or other animals.

Origin of consumer

1375–1425 for earlier sense “squanderer,” 1525–35 for current senses; Middle English; see consume, -er1

Other words from consumer

  • con·sum·er·ship, noun
  • an·ti·con·sum·er, noun, adjective
  • non·con·sum·er, adjective, noun
  • pre·con·sum·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use consumer in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for consumer


/ (kənˈsjuːmə) /

  1. a person who acquires goods and services for his or her own personal needs: Compare producer (def. 6)

  2. a person or thing that consumes

  1. (usually plural) ecology an organism, esp an animal, within a community that feeds upon plants or other animals: See also decomposer, producer (def. 8)

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

Scientific definitions for consumer


[ kən-sōōmər ]

  1. A heterotrophic organism that feeds on other organisms in a food chain.♦ Herbivores that feed on green plants and detritivores that feed on decaying matter are called primary consumers. Carnivores that feed on herbivores or detritivores are called secondary consumers, while those that feed on other carnivores are called tertiary consumers. Compare producer.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for consumer


Someone who purchases a good for personal use.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.