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procurer (n.)

late 14c., procurour, "advocate, spokesman," from Anglo-French procurour, Old French procureur (13c., Modern French procureur), from Latin procurator (see procurator). Meaning "contriver, one who or that which brings on or causes to be done" is from mid-15c. Specifically of one who supplies women to gratify the lusts of another from 1630s. Fem. form procuress (early 15c.) is shortened from Old French procureresse.

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procurement (n.)

c. 1300, procuren, "use of improper influence," from Old French procurement "management, stewardship" (13c.), from procurer (see procure) and directly from Medieval Latin procuramentum. Meaning "process of bringing something about" (by the action of another) is from c. 1400. Military meaning "action or process of obtaining equipment and supplies" is by 1949, American English.

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pander (n.)

"arranger of sexual liaisons, one who caters for the lusts of others," 1520s, "procurer, pimp," from Middle English Pandare (late 14c.), used by Chaucer ("Troylus and Cryseyde"), who borrowed it from Boccaccio (who had it in Italian form Pandaro in "Filostrato") as name of the prince (Greek Pandaros), who procured the love of Cressida (his niece in Chaucer, his cousin in Boccaccio) for Troilus. The story and the name are medieval inventions. The name turns up in ancient Greek, but without the story; in Homer he is a Lycian participant in the Trojan War. The name is thus perhaps non-Greek. Spelling in English was influenced by the agent-noun suffix -er.

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procure (v.)

c. 1300, "bring about, cause, effect," from Old French procurer "care for, be occupied with; bring about, cause; acquire, provide" (13c.) and directly from Late Latin procurare "manage, take care of;" from pro "in behalf of" (see pro-) + curare "care for" (see cure (v.)).

The main modern sense of "obtain; recruit" (late 14c.) is via the meaning "take pains to get or bring about" (mid-14c.). It had broader meanings in Middle English: to procure to slay was "cause to be slain;" procure to break, "cause to be broken," etc. The meaning "to obtain (women) for sexual gratification" of others is attested from c. 1600. Related: Procured; procuring.

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mackerel (n.)

edible fish of the North Atlantic (Scomber scombrus), c. 1300, from Old French maquerel "mackerel" (Modern French maquereau), of unknown origin; perhaps so called from the dark blotches with which the fish is marked, from Latin macula "spot, stain" (see macula). But the word is apparently identical with Old French maquerel "pimp, procurer, broker, agent, intermediary" (itself attested in English in this sense by early 15c.), a word from a Germanic source (compare Middle Dutch makelaer "broker," from Old Frisian mek "marriage," from maken "to make").

The connection would be obscure, but medieval people had imaginative notions about the erotic habits of beasts. The fish approach the shore in shoals in summertime to spawn. Exclamation holy mackerel is attested from 1876.

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bawd (n.)

a complicated word of uncertain history. First attested late 15c. in the sense "lewd person" (of either sex; since c. 1700 applied exclusively to women); probably [Middle English Compendium] from Old French baud "gay, licentious" (from Frankish *bald "bold" or some such Germanic source; see bold), despite the doubts of OED. The 15c. English word perhaps is a shortening of baude-strote "procurer or procuress of prostitutes" (c. 1300).

For the French sense evolution from "bold" to "lewd," compare Old French baudise "ardor, joy, elation, act of boldness, presumption;" baudie "elation, high spirits," fole baudie "bawdry, shamelessness." The Old French word also is the source of French baudet "donkey," in Picardy dialect "loose woman."

The second element in baude-strote would be trot "one who runs errands," or Germanic *strutt (see strut (v.)). There was an Old French baudestrote, baudetrot of the same meaning (13c.), and this may be the direct source of Middle English baude-strote. The obsolete bronstrops "procuress," frequently found in Middleton's comedies, probably is an alteration of baude-strote.

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pimp (n.)

"one who provides others with the means and opportunity of gratifying their sexual lusts," c. 1600, of unknown origin, perhaps from French pimpant "alluring in dress, seductive," present participle of pimper "to dress elegantly" (16c.), from Old French pimpelorer, pipelorer "decorate, color, beautify." Weekley suggests French pimpreneau, defined in Cotgrave [French-English Dictionary, 1611] as "a knave, rascall, varlet, scoundrell," but Liberman is against this.

Judging by such recorded meanings of pimp as 'helper in mines; servant in logging camps,' this word was originally applied to boys and servants. [Liberman]

The word also means "informer, stool pigeon" in Australia and New Zealand and in South Africa, where by early 1960s it existed in Swahili form impimpsi. Pimpmobile first recorded 1973 (six years before Popemobile).

PIMP. A male procurer, or cock bawd; also a small faggot used about London for lighting fires, named from introducing the fire to the coals. [Grose, "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," London, 1785]

Among the lists of late Middle English terms for animal groupings was a pimpe of chickens (or birds), mid-15c., a variant of pipe "flock" (mid-14c.), from Old French pipee.

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