pander

If a campaigning politician wants to pander to a crowd of pet owners, he might deliver a speech while embracing his own pet poodle. To pander is to appease or gratify, and often in a negative, self-serving way.

The word pander began its infamous history as the name of various characters. Pandaro was a character in Boccaccio’s Filostrato. Pandarus was a character in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, as well as in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida. These literary works all tell the tale of star-crossed lovers, and the namesake of pander is, essentially, a go-between whose motives don't seem entirely pure.

Definitions of pander
  1. verb
    yield (to); give satisfaction to
    synonyms: gratify, indulge
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    types:
    humor, humour
    put into a good mood
    spree
    engage without restraint in an activity and indulge, as when shopping
    sow one's oats, sow one's wild oats
    live promiscuously and self-indulgently
    type of:
    cater, ply, provide, supply
    give what is desired or needed, especially support, food or sustenance
  2. verb
    arrange for sexual partners for others
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    type of:
    cater, ply, provide, supply
    give what is desired or needed, especially support, food or sustenance
  3. noun
    someone who procures customers for prostitutes
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    type of:
    offender, wrongdoer
    a person who transgresses moral or civil law
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