50 Synonyms for “Assistant”

By Mark Nichol

A number of words—many precise in meaning, as well as colorful and/or pejorative—exist to assist you in describing someone who works below another person. Here are fifty synonyms for assistant.

1. accomplice: an assistant, especially in the commission of a crime
2. adjunct: an assistant or associate (also, a short-term or junior faculty member, or something added or joined to another)
3. adjutant: a military officer who is an assistant and secretary to a superior officer
4. aide: an assistant, often in a military or political context (sometimes misspelled aid)
5. aide-de-camp: a military officer who is an assistant to a superior officer
6. apprentice: an assistant training to master a skill
7. attendant: an assistant or servant, or an employee who helps customers (also, someone who attends an event, or something that accompanies something else)
8. auxiliary: a member of a foreign military unit fighting alongside military units of another nation (also, a Catholic bishop subordinate to and not entitled to succeed the bishop of a diocese)
9. coadjutor: an assistant (also, a Catholic bishop subordinate to and often a successor to the bishop of a diocese)
10. cog: an assistant who is one of many or who has a minor role in a company or organization
11. deputy: a substitute or second in command (also, a member of a lower house of a legislative body)
12. domestic: a household servant
13. employee: someone who works for someone else or for a company or organization for pay; also spelled employe
14. factotum: a servant with multiple responsibilities (also, anyone with multiple responsibilities)
15. flunky: a person who performs various small tasks for an important or powerful person; also spelled flunkey and flunkie (also refers to a sycophant)
16. follower: someone in the service of another person
17. gofer: someone who performs errands or other simple tasks for another person (from “go for”)
18.–19. handmaiden: a female maid or servant; also handmaid (also, something inanimate that exists to assist or serve)
20. help: an employee or helper; often used collectively (“the help”)
21. helper: an assistant, especially an unskilled laborer who assists a skilled worker
22.–23. helpmate: an assistant who also serves as a companion, or a wife; also helpmeet
24. henchman: a trusted assistant (often used colloquially for a politician’s aide), or a subordinate member of a gang (originally, a page or squire to a nobleman)
25. hireling: someone paid to do an unpleasant or illicit task
26. lackey: a person who performs menial or unpleasant work for another (originally a footman or a general servant; also refers to a sycophant)
27. legman: someone who gathers information and/or runs errands for another person
28. lieutenant: someone who assists and/or substitutes for another person (also, a specific military rank or role)
29–30. maid/maidservant: someone who cleans and performs other tasks for another person (maid also refers to an unmarried girl or woman)
31–33. man Friday: a devoted, efficient assistant; also “girl Friday” or “gal Friday” (from the character named Friday in Robinson Crusoe)
34. mate: an assistant to a more skilled person (also various other meanings)
35. menial: a person who does boring or unpleasant work for another person
36. minion: someone who obeys another person
37. number two: a person immediately subordinate to a leader (from military slang)
38. personal assistant: someone who assists another person by performing tasks and running errands
39. retainer: a person who assists in a household
40. right hand: a key assistant
41. second-in-command: a person immediately subordinate to a leader (from military usage)
42. scullion: a kitchen servant
43. second: an assistant, especially to a boxer or a duelist (also various other meanings)
44. second fiddle: someone in a supporting role or with subordinate responsibilities (from an informal reference to the violinist who sits next to the principal violinist in a music ensemble)
45. servant: someone who assists another person in that person’s home, often by cleaning and/or cooking
46. sidekick: someone who assists another person; traditionally refers to an assistant and companion to a heroic character
47. steward: someone who manages someone else’s household and/or property (also, someone who provides food and drinks in an institution or on a vehicle or vessel, or who manages finances or carries out other administrative duties)
48. subordinate: someone who works below someone else
49. swamper: a handyman or helper (also someone inhabiting or familiar with a swampy area)
50. underling: a low-ranking person who works for someone more powerful

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4 Responses to “50 Synonyms for “Assistant””

  • Bill

    It’d be fun to try to rate these on a negative/positive scale of one to five, but it would be hard to do, considering that many could be either, depending on various factors. I was a happy gofer when I was 20, but I doubt I would be at 55, for example.

  • Melissa Semento

    After reading this post, I realize that the use of a different word for “assistant” can be so much more descriptive for the reader. With one word change the reader is provided with a detailed illustration of what the assistant’s background.

  • venqax

    I wouldn’t think of “accomplice” as synonymous with an assistant, but rather with partner, even if a partner in crime. I don’t think that it connotes a subordinate status.

  • thebluebird11

    Great list!

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