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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.”

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
South Korea’s democracy appears rollicking, but its news organizations have long suffered low public trust, as people viewed them as kowtowing to corporate interests and pandering to partisan bias. Choe Sang-Hun, New York Times, 10 Nov. 2023 Trending So no, Nyad isn’t exactly slathering, pandering, take-no-prisoners Oscar bait. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 2 Nov. 2023 Her recipes eschew pandering to Western cooking methods and tastes and instead offer up the cooking true to Nigeria. L.a. Times Food Staff, Los Angeles Times, 1 Nov. 2023 Up to this point, Wong, five foot seven with dreamy eyes, had appeared primarily in American silent films that pandered to stereotypes of docile Asian women. Mayukh Sen, The New Yorker, 30 Aug. 2023 Even some of Newsom’s usual allies found this pandering ham-fisted, and more than a little insulting to Feinstein, just short of talking about her in past tense. The Editors, National Review, 5 Oct. 2023 The show, which starred Issa Rae as its chaotic lead, portrayed millennial Blackness without gimmicks or pandering. Ineye Komonibo,, 3 Oct. 2023 Instead, the book goes all in on pandering to those who have made up their minds already that crypto has no appeal for anyone who’s not a criminal or a fool. Byjeff John Roberts, Fortune Crypto, 12 Sep. 2023 Smartmatic countered that claim in a court hearing Wednesday, with its attorney J. Erik Connolly likening the Murdochs to Mafia bosses ordering a hit on the voting machine maker in order to pander to Trump supporters and boost Fox News ratings. Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times, 21 Sep. 2023
Still, the country’s slide away from white majorities is coming, but until Republicans have to deal with that reality at the ballot box, there’s no real incentive to do more than pander to voters of color. Philip Elliott, TIME, 5 Oct. 2023 Yet both are so smart and complex in their own ways, refusing to talk down to its audience and pander to the lowest common denominator. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 22 July 2023 Developers have good reason to pander to tenants who are willing and able to shell out money to be treated as if every day were first-year orientation. Curbed, 9 Mar. 2023 It’s been pander, pander, pander, even when the base is rioting upon and defacing the main temple of our democracy (with two or three honorable exceptions). Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 28 Nov. 2022 Wall Street wants Gen Z Citadel is leading the way in Wall Street’s attempt to pander and appeal to Gen Z in light of cut bonuses and layoffs. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 28 June 2023 In Mod’s hands, Shruti never panders for pity or respect either from audiences or from Whishaw’s Adam, never makes Shruti come across as a victim or as a naive dilettante. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 June 2023 Let other film festivals fret about the future of the movie business and pander to the all-powerful streamers. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Apr. 2023 While the media and politicians pander to ideological activists, most Americans share common-sense values. Larry Hogan, WSJ, 17 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pander.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


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

Legal Definition


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 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)


2 of 2 noun
: one who engages in pandering : panderer


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
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