pan·​der | \ ˈpan-dər How to pronounce pander (audio) \
pandered; pandering\ ˈpan-​d(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce pander (audio) \

Essential Meaning of pander

disapproving : to do or provide what someone wants or demands even though it is not proper, good, or reasonable

Full Definition of pander

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to act as a pander especially : to provide gratification for others' desires films that pander to the basest emotions … used his brilliant gifts to pander to popular taste. — Hubert Saal



Definition of pander (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a go-between in love intrigues
b : pimp
2 : someone who caters to or exploits the weaknesses of others

Other Words from pander


panderer \ ˈpan-​dər-​ər How to pronounce pander (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for pander

Synonyms: Noun

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Distinctive Meanings of Procure

Procure, like many other English words, has a split personality. On the one hand, it may carry a perfectly benign meaning, such as "to obtain" (“she procured supplies”) or "to bring about" (“the settlement was successfully procured”). On the other hand, it has long been used in the specific sense of obtaining someone for, or bringing about, sexually promiscuous purposes. In this regard it is similar to the word pander, which entered the English language with the innocent meaning “a go-between in love intrigues” (the word comes from the name Pandare, a character in Chaucer’s poem Troilus and Criseyde who facilitates the affair between the titular characters), and soon after took on the meaning “pimp.”

Examples of pander in a Sentence

Noun an arrest record that revealed that he had variously been a pander, a pickpocket, and a drug dealer
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This means that Democrats on the campaign trail have to pander to independents and moderates to a more substantial degree than Republicans do. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 10 Jan. 2022 Simp is a slang term that's been around for a while, but it's become popularized recently on TikTok again, and it's originally meant to mock men who pander to women in an effort to sleep with them. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 30 Dec. 2021 People were fussed with the bait-and-switch of Lina Khan, who was clearly nominated to pander to the left. WSJ, 23 Nov. 2021 When a character like Mia Colucci or Roberta Pardo showed up to the mall in high heels and a bikini top, the outfit wasn’t used primarily to pander to the sleazy male gaze, but rather to embody her personal style. Ana Escalante, Harper's BAZAAR, 6 Oct. 2021 Memphis lamented the use of Senate resolutions to pander for political purposes. Arkansas Online, 1 Oct. 2021 But so far, Visions is using Star Wars as a license to dream rather than an excuse to pander. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 21 Sep. 2021 There is no end to its willingness to pander to those literate in Golden Age musicals. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, 16 July 2021 The irony was that Close, who died Thursday at 81, never really wanted to pander to those kinds of responses. Washington Post, 20 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Critics say this is a pander to Donald Trump, but Trump lost in 2020 under either standard. Star Tribune, 2 June 2021 Critics say this is a pander to Donald Trump, but Mr. Trump lost in 2020 under either standard. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 31 May 2021 But of course showbiz politics won the day — and persisted through the presidencies of Democrats too, notably pander-bear Bill Clinton and dashing Barack Obama. Virginia Heffernan Los Angeles Times, Star Tribune, 23 Apr. 2021 Unlike Trump, Napoleon did not deny the plague, pander false cures, or ignore the suffering around him. Robert Klitzman, STAT, 25 June 2020 The giant pander-fest that is the Democratic primary is just getting started. Michael Tanner, National Review, 28 Aug. 2019 Its initial emphasis on high fashion—and the pander to the one-percent with the five-figure versions—seemed a bit tone-deaf. Steven Levy, WIRED, 27 June 2019 Trump announced his steel and aluminum tariffs in the campaign’s final days, the most microtargeted pander to Rust Belt voters imaginable. Frank Rich, Daily Intelligencer, 14 Mar. 2018 More like a pander-stretch on a non-issue in an election year. John Baer,, 23 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pander.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pander


1523, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for pander


derivative of pander entry 2


Middle English Pandare pandarus

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Time Traveler for pander

Time Traveler

The first known use of pander was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pander.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for pander


transitive verb
pan·​der | \ ˈpan-dər How to pronounce pander (audio) \

Legal Definition of pander

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to sell or distribute by pandering had no protected right to pander prurient materialsDunigan Enterprises v. DA for the Northern District, 415 N.E.2d 251 (1981)

intransitive verb

: to engage in pandering counts included…conspiracy to pander and receive the earnings of a prostituteState v. Tocco, 750 P.2d 874 (1988)



Legal Definition of pander (Entry 2 of 2)

: one who engages in pandering : panderer

History and Etymology for pander


Middle English Pandare, character who procured for Troilus the love of Cressida in Troilus and Creseyde, poem by Geoffrey Chaucer (ca. 1342–1400)


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