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 WebWorking with his legal partner Carl Rauh, Mr. Bennett helped procure a presidential pardon for Weinberger, weeks before President George H.W. Bush left office and shortly before a trial was scheduled to begin.—Harrison Smith, Washington Post, 13 Sep. 2023 The hospital confirmed the infections to her family, and police soon procured a warrant for Rockwell's arrest.—Andrea Vacchiano, Fox News, 5 Sep. 2023 After a relatively rapid multinational testing process, Germany procured 600 Taurus missiles for €570 million (roughly $684 million USD in the exchange rates of the day), implying a rough unit cost of about $1.1 million apiece and including whatever extras were bundled in the deal.—Sébastien Roblin, Popular Mechanics, 9 Aug. 2023 But the Wasatch Cooperative Market anticipates contracting with another co-op in order to procure items that can’t grow in Utah’s climate, Pioli said.—Kolbie Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Aug. 2023 The path to a conceptual KC-Z stealth tanker recently became more direct when, in March of 2023, the Air Force canceled plans to procure 75 new KC-Y series tankers that were intended to bridge the gap between the futuristic KC-Z and the currently-in-production Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tankers.—Sébastien Roblin, Popular Mechanics, 24 Aug. 2023 Boston also procured trains from the company for its metro system.—Noah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times, 19 Aug. 2023 Merrill procured the car as payment for helping clear a scrapyard.—Elana Scherr, Car and Driver, 29 July 2023 The report also acknowledges that some of the data being procured is protected under the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, meaning the courts have ruled that government should be required to convince a judge the data is linked to an actual crime.—WIRED, 27 July 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