When someone pays for all someone else's expenditures (including food), for example a child, what do you call it? I want to construct, if possible, something based on this structure: 'someone is one someone else's [sustenance? maintenance?]'. I also want it applicable to the situation when one state provides for another country (due to political reasons, for example) to the point when the latter country is not viable on its own.


The child (or the country) receiving support is called a dependant (Br.E.) / dependent (Am.E.):

1 : one that is dependent
especially : a person who relies on another for support
// an individual's spouse and dependent

For the reverse, words as benefactor and patron may not be strong enough, i.e. they only indicate partial dependency. But perhaps they work in your case.

  • Could you construct something in accordance with my pattern? May 21 '20 at 5:27
  • Mr. Smith is the child's benefactor / patron, except that as I mentioned I don't think it's strong enough. I'm not sure if there is a single word for this or idiomatic expression for this.
    – Glorfindel
    May 21 '20 at 6:50
  • You didn't answer my question. I repeat, "I want to construct, if possible, something based on this structure: 'someone is one someone else's [sustenance? maintenance?]'." May 23 '20 at 5:13
  • I did (or at least I attempted to), but here you go: 'someone is one someone else's benefactor / patron'. I thought it would be clearer if I used an example.
    – Glorfindel
    May 23 '20 at 8:22

Guardian; noun 2. A person who is legally responsible for the care and management of the person or property of one who is considered by law to be incompetent to manage his own affairs, as a child who is a minor. (source: American Heritage Dictionary)

Also try Custodian, Trustee, Superintendent, Warden.

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