So far I've found xeroxer but I'm not sure if it's a common term and also if the term is specifically used to describe people who make copies in offices rather than running a business independently and having a shop of their own. I need to check it with an English native speaker. Is it a common word? If not, what do you usually call them?

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    FWIW, I'm fairly certain that the first attestation cited at the link is not actually referring to a person: "I am sorry, but I would get rid of any xeroxer like this in our offices." "It is possible to read nevertheless," answered the First Lieutenant, embarrassed.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 11:42
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    It's not a common term and there isn't one. My favorite would be the obsolete copiator, but any term for this is going to imply copying by hand (copyist, transcriber, &c.); being the guy who makes copies for an office (xeroxer, &c.); being the owner of a printshop (printer, &c.); or being the machine itself (photocopier, copier, &c.). You just need to go with a generic office title and/or explain the nature of the shop.
    – lly
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 16:53
  • Interesting responses. I thought i might be getting something like a copy guy then I thought well do we have a copy gal?! lol Anyway thank you all you gave me a real insight into this. I really don know which is the best answer down there so I'll wait it out a bit.
    – Yuri
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 20:35
  • @Yuri Right, a lot of people would just say "copy guy."
    – Ringo
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 18:59

6 Answers 6


New occupational (and avocational) nouns can be formed by analogy as the need arises: photographer, programmer, coder, blogger, gamer, snowboarder.

The natural choice here, photocopier, was already used for the device itself.

I'm a xeroxer at a print-shop would certainly be understood by most native speakers of American English who are adults (little kids and even some teens might not recognize "xerox") but most people would probably say a desk-clerk at a print-shop or something like that.

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    +1 for avoiding claims about Xerox being unknown/unused in the UK and mention of how the obvious generic term got preëmpted. It's worth drawing a brighter line on how you do have to say 'at a printshop', though; 'xeroxer' isn't in wide use and, while understandable, it still doesn't sound like a job but a function you might perform at any office. More common than "I'm a desk-clerk at..." would just be to say "I work at".
    – lly
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 16:37
  • If pressed with the question But what exactly do you do there? a person might reply, I make photocopies mostly or I do photocopying. A person who has retired from their first job and is now working part-time might say I do xeroxing.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 17:22
  • If you asked a 25-year-old American native-English speaker, "What is a xeroxer?" there's no way they're going to know! Maybe 1 or 2 in 10. I'd bet my photocopier on it.
    – Ringo
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 18:54
  • @Ringo: I said a xeroxer at a print-shop. Can I use that phrase in this survey?
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 19:32
  • Haha, yes, you can. Try it in real life. I've been asking people around the office today (all 30-something or older). Everyone thinks a xeroxer is a photocopy machine.
    – Ringo
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 21:02

In British usage, this is one of those situations where there is not one word. A person who works in a copy shop is just that. They might say "I work in a copy shop" or possibly describe themselves as a "copy shop assistant". A person who runs their own shop might say "I run a copy shop". Most copy shops here do other things as well, e.g. print posters, business cards, print or copy photos etc, so they might be called 'copy and print shops'. Also, very few jobs in offices involve only operating a photocopier. There are "general administration" jobs which involve data entry, photocopying, mail distribution, franking and dispatch, scanning, etc. Also, the term "Xerox" to mean "any photocopier" is mainly American; where I work the copier is made by Kyocera and is just called 'the copier'.

  • It's more common in America but not by much. The actual issue is just that Xerox is much less important overall to the market in general, so their name gets used as generic term less often these days everywhere.
    – lly
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 16:33

I've never heard the term xeroxer, and I think it would be confusing to most native English speakers if you used it to describe someone who works in a copy shop. The verb to xerox was common when photocopiers first became popular, probably because Xerox invented the photocopy machine. But I would say the verb has become less popular in the last few decades, as many companies now produce and sell photocopy machines.

Instead of xeroxer, you can call a copy shop employee a clerk or an associate.

  • Using clerk and associate for a sales job is very US-specific. Shop (or sales) assistant is very common. Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 11:18
  • Yes, Kinko's hires for "associates," as does Starbucks.
    – Ringo
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 17:23

The term 'xeroxer' mentioned in one of the other answers actually does follow the standard rules in English for describing a job. However, it has three issues:

  1. 'Xerox' as a generic verb was really an American English thing, but even here in the US it's not widely used anymore.
  2. 'Xeroxer' is essentially unused. So on top of the base word not being widely used, you're likely to have to explain the word to people.
  3. Even if you get past the first two issuses, the term is more likely to be interpreted by most people as 'a person who makes copies', not 'a person who works in a copy shop', because the term 'xerox' refers to the copying machine (not the shop) or the action of using it.

As stupid as this may sound, I would actually advocate just saying a person who works in a copy shop'. While it's not short and concise, it's completely unambiguous (unless you have to explain what a copy shop is, which you might in some places), and the 'X works in/at a Y' construct is bordering on a fixed phrase in English, as it's quite often the only way to clearly express what a person's job is.

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    As mentioned elsewhere, Brits knew what a Xerox was; Xerox losing market share is the real issue on both sides of the Atlantic.
    – lly
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 16:38
  • Similarly, you wouldn't need to gloss the idea for most people; it's just that the agent form 'xeroxer' has never been a common word or job description and sounds more like a chore you might get at any office rather than a post at a printshop.
    – lly
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 16:42
  • @lly Having talked to some of my Brittish friends, it sounded to me like it never reached the level of ubiquity as a verb there that it did here in the US. Not nescecarrily saying it wasn't a thing there, just that the verb usage seemed to be more common in the US. Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 16:56
  • I'm sure you meant well. It's just that plural of anecdote isn't data; it absolutely was a thing on both sides of the pond and is becoming less common due to lost market share much more than diverging dialects.
    – lly
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 17:13
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    @Ringo I think it's probably both. Back when the term was in widespread usage, if you had a photocopier, it was almost certainly a Xerox (at least, here in the US it was). That level of universal brand recognition started falling off before photocopiers started to become less widely used. Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 18:20

You could go old-school and use the word printer.

Of course, language has evolved to where we now think of printers as the machines that print for us, but there was a time where the printer was the person who operated the printing press.

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NOAD defines printer this way:

printer (n.) a person whose job or business is commercial printing.

a machine for printing text or pictures onto paper, especially one linked to a computer.

Incidentally, I found a job listing for what sounds like the kind of person you are talking about. It was not for a person in a commercial printing shop, but for a person who would spend their day making copies for a consulting firm. Qualifications include:

  • Operate digital and color equipment in Print Shop
  • Point of contact to receive, review and electronically log customer jobs
  • Operate office/production equipment (printer, copier, fax, scan)
  • Operate standard finishing equipment (e.g. paper cutters, inserters, laminating, and hole punchers)

The job title? Print Production Level 3. That doesn't really work as a name of the person, but I suppose you could say that such a person is a member of the print production staff.


150 years ago,it would have been printer's devil. If I had that job, I would love that term.


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