I've only ever seen pander used as a platonic verb meaning "to please others", but apparently it also had historical senses of "to sexually gratify" and "to pimp". The verb form evolved in the early seventeenth century from a previous definition of "pimp", and that was borrowed around 1450 from Pandero, the name of a character who set his cousin up with a Trojan prince in a twelfth-century poem by Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio. Boccaccio was further inspired by Pandaros, a character in Homer's Iliad who had nothing to do with prostitution whatsoever. Finally, his name is composed of the prefix pan-, meaning "all" (from Proto-Indo-European pant, also "all"), the root dero, meaning "to flay" (from Proto-Indo-European der, "to tear", and the noun-forming suffix -os.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.