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.
1824, "a friend of Greece, a foreigner who supports and assists the cause of the Greeks," from Greek philhellēn, from philos "loving" (see philo-) + Hellēnes "the Greeks" (compare Hellenic). Originally in English in reference to the cause of Greek independence; later also with reference to Greek literature or language. Related: Philhellenic; Philhellenism.
"one who finds cause for gladness in the most difficult situations," 1921, a reference to Pollyanna Whittier, child heroine of U.S. novelist Eleanor Hodgman Porter's "Pollyanna" (1913) and "Pollyanna Grows Up" (1915), who was noted for keeping her chin up and finding cause for happiness during disasters.