• pander •
pæn-dêr • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, Intransitive verb
Meaning: 1. [Noun] The scientific term for pimp, a procurer of sexual favors. 2. [Noun] A person who complies with the base inclinations of others. 3. [Verb] To lower one's standards or morals for approval or wealth, as to pander to the whims of the wealthy.
Notes: This word, good or bad, is a member of a large and linguistically legitimate family. The activity of panders is panderage and they behave in a panderly fashion. Although pandership has been recorded, we recommend reserving this word to address panders you respect (Yes, your pandership). That should put an end to that word. Most dictionaries now list panderer as the agent noun of the verb to pander. While we do form agent nouns by adding -er to verbs (baker, lover, reader), it is not necessary in this case: the word pander already refers to an agent. Besides, two -er's in a row are difficult to pronounce.
In Play: Let us begin with the delicate meaning of this bad Good Word, "When the police raided the red light district last night, 'pandermonium' broke out." Now that we have that out of our system, let's look at the more usual use of this term: "Duane Pipes is nothing but a servile little pander who does whatever that corrupt boss of his tells him."
Word History: Today's word is an eponym of the Trojan prince, Pandaros, who broke the peace with the Athenians during the Trojan War. Boccaccio next used the name in his Decameron Tales, where his Pandaro facilitates the love of Troilus for Criseida. The same character in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde has slipped even farther along the moral slope, protrayed as someone much like a procurer. (We procured this word from a perfectly legitimate suggestion sent by Susan Lister, a serial contributor to our Good Words.)
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