1 of 2


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

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
panderer noun


2 of 2


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

Did you know?

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.”

Example Sentences

Noun an arrest record that revealed that he had variously been a pander, a pickpocket, and a drug dealer
Recent Examples on the Web
LaRose said the reorganization isn’t a way to pander to those views, which have included conspiracy theories in pro-Trump circles about Ohio’s 2020 election, even though Trump won the state by 8 points. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, 5 Oct. 2022 Far-right and authoritarian regimes were able to seize on these divisions, and on the disruptions caused by World War I and the Great Depression, to pander to voters unsatisfied with the current order and eager for a change, according to Florea. Bytristan Bove, Fortune, 2 Oct. 2022 With a razor-thin Democratic majority in the Senate, many felt Manchin was holding life-saving action on the climate crisis hostage to pander to fossil fuel interests, the energy status quo and the coal and gas-based economy of his home state. Joan Meiners, The Arizona Republic, 4 Aug. 2022 It’s that this film seemingly treats Austen fans with disdain while attempting to pander to them. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 27 July 2022 There’s an audacity here: meandering adolescence as rich, worthwhile subject; an unwillingness to pander to the reader’s longing for plot. Los Angeles Times, 19 May 2022 People would still be tempted to pander to fear and anger to try to get retweets. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, 26 Apr. 2022 Indeed, neither candidate seemed eager to pander in any flagrant way to voters who had supported far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round. Arthur Goldhammer, The New Republic, 21 Apr. 2022 Today, the way to get your Average Joe or Jane to tune in to the Oscars is not to pander to him or her with an award decided on Twitter or with presenters from walks of life unrelated to the movies. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Apr. 2022
This is America’s political game, blame and divide, point and pander. Washington Post, 3 Feb. 2022 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 See More

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.

Word History



derivative of pander entry 2


Middle English Pandare pandarus

First Known Use


1523, in the meaning defined above


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

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

Dictionary Entries Near pander

Cite this Entry

“Pander.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



variants or panderer
: one who takes advantage of or profits from the weaknesses and mean desires of others
pander verb

Legal Definition

pander 1 of 2

transitive verb

pan·​der ˈpan-dər How to pronounce pander (audio)
: to sell or distribute by pandering
had no protected right to pander prurient materials Dunigan 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 prostitute State v. Tocco, 750 P.2d 874 (1988)


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)

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.