As in the title what is the difference in word usage/meaning between the following fours words:

  1. 顾客
  2. 客户
  3. 客人


  • 3
    answer found in dictionaries, 客 is a bound morpheme (see dictionaries for compounds, suffix as in 酒客,刺客,政客 ) 顾客 customer; client; shopper,客户 client; customer;buyer;(trading) partner,客人 guest,visitor, also see previous question chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/16776/… for difference between 顾客 and 客户
    – user6065
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 16:57

3 Answers 3


客, guest, visitor. For a shop, it is customer.

顧客, customer. (顧, look back -> visit and revisit.)

客户, customer account, a customer with account. (户, the front door -> household -> account). Some ignore the concept of account.

客人, 人客. guest / visitor (of human).


顾客 and 客户 are customer(commercial ). 客人 means guest. 客 always means being guest/objective,which is contrast to the owner/subjective.

  1. 客 is short for 客人 mostly, sometimes short for customer.
  2. 客人: guest, visitor
  3. 顾客: customer
  4. 客户: client

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