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If someone pays someone else (through an intermediary or not) to illegally kill another person or commit some other crime, what noun should I use to describe the first individual? 'Customer'? 'Mandator'? 'Hirer'?

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  • The term proxy murder is in Wikipeida but not in a dictionary that I can find, although proxy is, of course. AFAIK in law, the person who hires a killer to do the deed is still a murderer. Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 18:07

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"Criminologists have a name for a person who hires a hit man: instigator."

(from an article in Atlantic Magazine)

Of course, the root word "instigate" has softer meanings, too:
AHD: 'instigate'

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