I'm writing a text where I have to reference 3 different entities.

  1. The "creator" of a document, which is the person who launched the request in a software system for the document to be created (aka, he or she who pressed the button)
  2. The "recipient" of the document, the one to whom the document is being made for and who will eventually receive the document
  3. The person on whom's behalf the creator is making the document for. This occurs when the creator is making a document for his or her boss. In such a case, for the recipient it will appear as if it was the boss who created and send the document because the document is signed by this entity and not the actual creator.

I would like to know if a single word exists that is as easy to understand as "creator" and "recipient" to grasp the concept of the third entity.

  • I understand the question (I think!) but I don't think there is a specific word for the person who delegates authority to someone else... As I understand it, in this workflow you have the 'Boss' who initiates the document, the 'Creator' who actually does the button pushing and then the 'Recipent' whom it gets sent to? In Outlook and similar software you can have "send on behalf of" status which I think is what you are referring to here. But I don't know what the 'person on whose [not whom's] behalf' would be called! Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 19:35
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    @seventyeightist aaaand I just noticed these comments right after posting my answer xD
    – Elininja
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 19:39
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    @Elininja I think we cross posted but the problem we both have is that the "proxy" is the 'delegate' with no word for the person nominating the proxy! I was also wondering about the word "principal" as in a principal-agent relationship. Wikipedia also uses this word in relation to proxy voting: A person so designated is called a "proxy" and the person designating him or her is called a "principal". But I think referring to a "principal" without context would be misleading or difficult to understand. (cont) Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 19:43
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    (...) maybe you could set up "Principal" as a term to refer to the 'Boss' in this situation and then use it consistently, but I'd only do that if it is a substantial part of the document. If you only refer to it once or twice then I'd just say "the person on whose behalf it is being sent" or similar. But that may be confusing if e.g. you work in a consulting org where you have analysts, consultants, principals... Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 19:45
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    @seventyeightist I like Principal. No, the boss is not the initator. He is just the legal entity that needs to be on that document. Other document require other entities to be on them different than the boss. The employees decide themselves on a day to day basis when to create documents. The system automatically determines who will be the "principal" (based on the document type). Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 20:01

2 Answers 2


Typically in relationships where someone carries out actions on behalf of someone else, the person "on whose behalf it is done" is the 'Principal', and the person carrying out the action is the 'nominee', 'agent', 'delegate'. They may have various levels of authority, normally defined by an agreement or contract of some kind.

In your case, it seems like someone (e.g. in a customer service agent role) is writing a letter "on behalf of" a nominal boss such as a Head of Customer Services. This role exists but the person holding it won't be writing individual letters to people!

I would define that boss as the Principal (with suitable wording explaining what that means) in your document, if you have to refer to them more than 1-2 times.

  • The customer service example is the right context. The focus of the manual I'm writing is "the documents being created", not the people working with them. So it makes sense to talk about the creator of the document, the recipient of the document and I think I'll use the "document principal" to describe the person who's name is used on the document as if he or she created the document. Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 20:32
  • @user1884155 I don't think that's right. Let's say somebody, J. Smith, writes a technical manual for Microsoft—and F. Jones purchases it. Smith is the author (or creator), Jones is the owner (or recipient) of one copy of the manual, and Microsoft is the owner of the intellectual property—or the copyright holder. Of course, that's just one scenario. But you would never put somebody else's name on a document, pretending that they wrote it, if they didn't. Unless you're talking about a ghost-writing situation. Perhaps if it's a letter signed by somebody other than the person who wrote it. Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 0:05

Perhaps the word you're looking for is proxy

The boss created the document by proxy


A proxy may refer to a person who is authorized to act for another or it may designate the function or authority of serving in another’s stead. In the latter sense, it generally is preceded by the word by (“vote by proxy”).

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    This is a valid point, but in my case the document creator = the proxy. I already have a simple word to describe that entity. I'm looking for a simple word to reference the boss character in this scenario, without calling him "the boss" :) Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 19:42

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