pro·​cure prə-ˈkyu̇r How to pronounce procure (audio)
procured; procuring
transitive : to get possession of (something) : to obtain (something) by particular care and effort
procure a loan
She had managed to procure a hat shaped like a life-size lion's head, which was perched precariously on her head.J. K. Rowling
transitive : to bring about or achieve (something) by care and effort
was unable to procure the prisoner's release
transitive + intransitive : to obtain (someone) to be employed for sex (as for an individual or in a house of prostitution)
… accused of acting as a "madam" and "procuring girls" for wealthy sex offender Epstein—claims that she strongly denies.The New York Post
No one has been prosecuted … for pimping or procuringJacqueline Martis
procurable adjective

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Distinctive Meanings of Procure

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.”

Examples of procure in a Sentence

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 2003
He 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, 1997
Unlike 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 Web Working 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.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French procurer, from Late Latin procurare, from Latin, to take care of, from pro- for + cura care

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of procure was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near procure

Cite this Entry

“Procure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


pro·​cure prə-ˈkyu̇(ə)r How to pronounce procure (audio)
procured; procuring
: to get possession of
managed to procure tickets to the big game
: bring about, achieve
procured an audience with the pope
procurable adjective

Legal Definition


transitive verb
pro·​cure prə-ˈkyu̇r How to pronounce procure (audio)
procured; procuring
: to obtain, induce, or cause to take place
procurable adjective
procurer noun

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