client (n.)

late 14c., from Anglo-French clyent (c. 1300), from Latin clientem (nominative cliens) "follower, retainer," which is probably from clinare "to incline, bend," from suffixed form of PIE root *klei- "to lean." The notion apparently is "one who leans on another for protection." In ancient Rome, a plebeian under protection of a patrician (called patronus in this relationship; see patron); in English originally "a lawyer's customer," by c. 1600 extended to any customer.

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