See more synonyms for pimp on Thesaurus.com
  1. a person, especially a man, who solicits customers for a prostitute or a brothel, usually in return for a share of the earnings; pander; procurer.
  2. a despicable person.
  3. Australia and New Zealand. an informer; stool pigeon.
verb (used without object)
  1. to act as a pimp.
verb (used with object)
  1. to act as a pimp for.
  2. to exploit.

Origin of pimp

First recorded in 1630–40; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for pimp


  1. a man who solicits for a prostitute or brothel and lives off the earnings
  2. a man who procures sexual gratification for another; procurer; pander
  1. (intr) to act as a pimp
  2. (tr) slang to adapt or embellish in an ostentatious manner

Word Origin for pimp

C17: of unknown origin


  1. a spy or informer
  1. (intr often foll by on) to inform (on)

Word Origin for pimp

of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for pimp

c.1600, of unknown origin, perhaps from Middle French pimpant "alluring in dress, seductive," present participle of pimper "to dress elegantly" (16c.), from Old French pimpelorer, pipelorer "decorate, color, beautify." Weekley suggests Middle French pimpreneau, defined in Cotgrave (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. ["Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence," London, 1811]

1630s (intransitive) "to act as a pimp," from pimp (n.). Related: Pimped; pimping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper