Guido x 2

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 27 19:12:57 UTC 2010

I haven't thought much of "pimp" as "pander", but I don't see why you
suggest that the use is "on the wane". This got me thinking of the
meaning of "pander"--was I less familiar with it than I should be?
Checking Compact OED (OL), there are two entries--for the verb and the noun.

> verb : (pander to) gratify or indulge (an immoral or distasteful
> desire or habit).
> noun /dated/ : a pimp or procurer.
> — ORIGIN from Pandare, a character in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde
> who acts as a lovers’ go-between.

I was more surprised by the ORIGIN note than by either meaning, although
I should not have been (just speaks to my ignorance of early English
literature). But that's beside the point. There is a surprising
resurection of pandering in Facebook/social-media social games. As the
games require a sizeable entourage to be successful, "pimping" has
become a common practice of posting names of people who need to expand
their entourage. In other words, one provides a service for one of his
members to hook him up with other players and to make both sides improve
their game characters (possibly indirectly benefiting the original
poster, but not necessarily). I have not heard this terminology in the
past from role-playing games where there might have been similar
activities. Those with closer ties to D&D or Assassin groups may have
observed otherwise.

To me, this seems to be more closely related to "pimp" as "pander" (but
a verb, not a noun--an absense I do find surprising in even in the
Compact OED), although it is possible, ironically, that the conversion
went through an intermediate step of being related to "pimping" as
beautification--the meaning that became popular in the late 1990s. I
find it interesting that this is the "pimp" in the more benign sense,
more closely allied with the OED original definition--there is no
negative connotation to this use of "pimp", except for the fact that
frequent pimping posts may annoy other users.


On 1/27/2010 9:28 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> ...
> "Pimp" as a simple synonym for "pander" may be on the wane. My guess is that pimps actually did active "pandering" in the English Renaissance, since men who could most afford the company of prostitutes may have been less inclined to visit their haunts (for one thing, why bother ?).  Also, among the wealthy, paid "mistresses"  may have depended on a male go-between to introduce them to their sugar-daddies. An expert on 16-17th C. social mores would know more about this than I do, however.
> _Pimp_ (1600) is a much later word than _pander_ (1450). In the Middle Ages, "pander" presumably applied to all possibilities.
> ...

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