Procure, like many other English words, has a split personality. On the one hand, it may carry a perfectly benign meaning, such as "to obtain" (“she procured supplies”) or "to bring about" (“the settlement was successfully procured”). On the other hand, it has long been used in the specific sense of obtaining someone for, or bringing about, sexually promiscuous purposes.
In this regard it is similar to the word pander, which entered the English language with the innocent meaning “a go-between in love intrigues” (the word comes from the name Pandare, a character in Chaucer’s poem Troilus and Criseyde who facilitates the affair between the titular characters), and soon after took on the meaning “pimp.”
It was at that encounter in Pakistan that Faris was put in charge of procuring acetylene torches to slice suspension cables, as well as torque tools to bend portions of train track.—Daniel Eisenberg, Time, 30 June 2003He was stationed down in South Carolina about a year when he became engaged to an Irish Catholic girl whose father, a marine major and a one-time Purdue football coach, had procured him the cushy job as drill instructor in order to keep him at Parris Island to play ball.—Philip Roth, American Pastoral, 1997Unlike an agent, whose chief task is to procure acting roles and handle the legal negotiations of an actor's contract, a personal manager's influence is more pervasive …—Nikki Grimes, Essence, March 1995
Recent Examples on the WebGrist estimated an engineer will be procured in about three to six months from Friday.—Thomas Saccente, Arkansas Online, 4 Nov. 2023 Mali, Togo, and Uganda all recently procured Russian combat helicopters.—Hanna Notte, Foreign Affairs, 6 Oct. 2023 Last October, the Biden administration enacted sweeping export control measures to restrict China’s ability to procure advanced chips.—Lionel Lim, Fortune, 6 Oct. 2023 Own the process, and know that sometimes our greatest risks will procure our greatest rewards.—Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 Oct. 2023 Telegram was already familiar to many Israelis, who, among other things, often procure cannabis through the app.—Darren Loucaides, WIRED, 31 Oct. 2023 The government was procuring Paxlovid at about roughly $530 per treatment course.—Sarah Owermohle, STAT, 27 Oct. 2023 Most of the specimens at the Delbridge Museum were procured between the 1940s and 1970s by Henry Brockhouse, a Sioux Falls businessman and hunter, and the skins were mounted by the Jonas family, renowned taxidermists in the conservation world, Mr. Janelli said.—Katrina Miller, New York Times, 23 Sep. 2023 To meet those requirements and avoid high costs and fluctuations in energy markets, the CPUC and the California Energy Commission recommended the Legislature create one central entity to procure large amounts of clean energy resources.—Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Sep. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'procure.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English, from Anglo-French procurer, from Late Latin procurare, from Latin, to take care of, from pro- for + cura care