si·​ne·​cure | \ ˈsī-ni-ˌkyu̇r How to pronounce sinecure (audio) , ˈsi-\

Definition of sinecure

1 : an office or position that requires little or no work and that usually provides an income
2 archaic : an ecclesiastical benefice without cure of souls

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Did You Know?

Sinecure comes from the Medieval Latin phrase sine cura, which literally means "without cure." No, the first sinecures were not cushy jobs for those suffering with incurable maladies. The word sinecure first referred to "an ecclesiastical benefice without cure of souls"—that is, a church position in which the job-holder did not have to tend to the spiritual care and instruction of church members. Such sinecures were virtually done away with by the end of the 19th century, but by then the word had acquired a broader sense referring to any paid position with few or no responsibilities.

Examples of sinecure in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Poor folk—especially those of color—had to be warehoused in jails and rich folk had to be safeguarded their institutional sinecures. Maya Singer, Vogue, "Who's Up For Burning It All Down?," 6 Oct. 2018 Aim for a plurality, but do so with what amounts to a running mate who is then rewarded with a sinecure in the new administration. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Raccoon Congress," 13 June 2018 Trump has publicly criticized ABC News multiple times for the Brian Ross debacle, saying Ross should have been fired (Ross was instead demoted to a sinecure). Brian Flood, Fox News, "ABC News reeling after anti-Trump 'practice' headline creates humiliating error; was hostile staffer to blame?," 21 June 2018 Ross was later demoted to a sinecure at ABC’s beleaguered Lincoln Square Productions. Brian Flood, Fox News, "Pressure grows for 'The View' star Joy Behar to apologize over anti-Christian comments, but ABC is silent," 12 Mar. 2018 More broadly, with incumbents like Ms. James re-elected across the board on Tuesday, New York may be seeing a new political normal where the city’s term-limits law has given rise to two-term sinecures. William Neuman And J. David Goodman, New York Times, "Glow of De Blasio’s Primary Victory Is Dimmed by a Cuomo Speech," 13 Sep. 2017 The top brass, in particular, benefit from sinecures in and payouts from this empire. The Economist, "Going along with a pogromAung San Suu Kyi and her foreign admirers must help the Rohingyas," 9 Sep. 2017 Fox News, his post–Bush administration sinecure, had just called Ohio—and, by extension, the country—for Barack Obama. Colin Dickey, New Republic, "Karl Rove panicked on live television," 8 June 2017 Burke seemed to like dressing up in medieval regalia, and the ceremonial sinecure should have been no more than a Gothic folly. James Carroll, The New Yorker, "Pope Francis Is the Anti-Trump," 1 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sinecure.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sinecure

1662, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for sinecure

Medieval Latin sine cura without cure (of souls)

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Time Traveler for sinecure

The first known use of sinecure was in 1662

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English Language Learners Definition of sinecure

formal : a job or position in which someone is paid to do little or no work

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a bell tower

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