A document referred to someone applying for an Australian carer visa in order to care for a relative who was referred to by name and as the sponsor, the Australian relative requiring care and 

the caree

Caree, as the reciprocal of carer, makes sense and uses an established pattern of English words, and it it is difficult to think of any other suitable word, but it looks and sounds very strange, and is very, very rare. Google first asked me if I meant carer, then career, and Pages for Mac changed it to career (even though that doesn’t make sense in any likely context). 

One of the few official sources in which I found it used is the Australian government’s Social Security Guide (which was not the provision in question in the document I was editing). It simply says that a caree is “a person receiving a substantial level of care” and a carer or care provider is “a person who is providing a substantial level of care to a caree”.

Not surprisingly, Google Ngrams shows that the usage of caree is minimal. Surprisingly, it shows that carer has been widely used only since the late 1970s. I don’t know what people providing care were called before that. 

I can’t recommend or not recommend caree. I doubt if any writers of government guides are going to check my blog before they use it.


6 thoughts on “caree

  1. “carer” is probably rare (there are few words rarer than “carer”) due to the proximate “r” sounds. More common are “caretaker” and “caregiver,” which you would think apply respectively to the two individuals on either end of a caring transaction, but in fact don’t. It seems generally that caretakers care for nonhuman entities and caregivers care for people.

    The “er” / “ee” pattern has a few exceptions and/or ambiguities. For example, an “attendee” isn’t a concert or event being attended, or even a member of the noble class being served by servants; why the word isn’t “attender” instead, I don’t know. (It seems that “-ee” words always refer to persons and never objects or abstractions.)

    “Lessor”/”lessee” is more confusing. I even saw the term “pro-leaser” in a magazine article about car leasing, and it’s only clear from the context that the leaser is the company that makes autos available for lease. Similarly, in real estate, the lessor is the property owner and the lessee is the individual who occupies the property while paying the owner. In fact, the verbs “lease” and “rent” are used for both directions of a transaction: you can rent or lease a car or apartment TO a customer, or you can lease or rent it FROM an owner. That’s not true of, say, borrowing/lending.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s probably just as well that we’re not expecting logic or consistency here. There’s probably more words which aren’t logical or consistent than are.
      With my non-rhotic pronunciation, ‘carer’ only has one ‘r’ sound. A caretaker *does* take … care of someone or something. Google Ngrams shows that attender was more common until 1972. Its usage has remained steady but attendee has become far more common. I also thought about escapee and escaper, which switched around 1930.
      As far as I know, rent, lease, hire all work in approximately the same way, and I think very few people care about lend, loan and borrow.


  2. I’ve never seen “attender.” Nor have I seen “hire” in the hiree -> hirer direction, but that may be a British usage I’m not familiar with.

    What does Google Ngrams tell you about lend vs. loan? The use of “loan” as a verb in place of “lend” has become ubiquitous. So, for that matter, has the use of “lay” in place of “lie” at the highest levels of written discourse; I suspect that’s because the verb “lie” meaning to speak an untruth is so loaded that even using it to mean “recline” is shied away from.


  3. Google Ngrams shows lend as a verb still way ahead of loan as a verb. Lay as a verb is significantly ahead of lie as a verb, which surprises me because lie has two basic meanings and lay has one. ‘Lay’ has increased considerably in the last 30 years, probably because of its increasing use to mean ‘recline’ (backed up by the fact that ‘I lay’ has increased double considerably.
    But Google Ngrams doesn’t tell us whether ‘I lie’ means ‘I tell untruths’ or ‘I recline’ wether or ‘I lay’ means ‘I set the table’, ‘I recline’ or ‘I reclined’.


  4. Similarly, “lend” could be followed by “credence,” “legitimacy,” “respectability,” etc., which would be unlikely to be replaced by “loan,” as opposed to “lend” followed by things like “money” or “to…”

    Liked by 1 person

    • My first guess is that loan is only used with tangible things (money counting as tangible). The usage note at says “Sometimes mistakenly identified as an Americanism, loan as a verb meaning “to lend” has been used in English for nearly 800 years … *The occasional objections to loan as a verb referring to things other than money, are comparatively recent.* [Whether that means books or credence? I’m not sure why anyone would object to loaning books but not money.] Loan is standard in all contexts but is perhaps most common in financial ones …”


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